Although the most common definition today is the female version of a cuckold, that is, a woman who is cheated on by her husband, you may also come across the original definition, one that is archaic even by Webster1913's standards: a cotquean is a coarse or scolding woman. The cot (or cote) originally referred to the small house of a poor laborer; thus, a cotquean was simply a poor man's wife. This was, unsurprisingly, used in a derogatory sense.

Cot"quean` (k?t"kw?n`), n. [Cot a cottage + quean.]

1.

A man who busies himself with affairs which properly belong to women.

Addison.

2.

A she-cuckold; a cucquean; a henhussy.

[Obs.]

What, shall a husband be afraid of his wife's face? We are a king, cotquean, and we will reign in our pleasures. B. Jonson.

 

© Webster 1913.

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