late 13c., wenche "girl, young woman," especially if unmarried, also "female infant," shortened from wenchel "child," also in Middle English "girl, maiden," from Old English wencel, probably related to wancol "unsteady, fickle, weak," from Proto-Germanic *wankila- (source also of Old Norse vakr "child, weak person," Old High German wanchal "fickle"), from PIE *weng- "to bend, curve" (see wink (v.)).
The wenche is nat dead, but slepith. [Wyclif, Matthew ix.24, c. 1380]
In Middle English occasionally with disparaging suggestion, and secondary sense of "concubine, strumpet" is attested by mid-14c. Also "serving-maid, bondwoman, young woman of a humble class" (late 14c.), a sense retained in the 19c. U.S. South in reference to slave women of any age. In Shakespeare's day a female flax-worker could be a flax-wench, flax-wife, or flax-woman.
Old English wyrman "make warm" and wearmian "become warm;" from the root of warm (adj.). Phrase warm the bench is sports jargon first recorded 1907. Related: Warmed; warming.
SCOTCH WARMING PAN. A wench. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785]
"rogue's girlfriend, beggar's mistress," 1520s, slang, of unknown origin (see dell (n.2)). Liberman says it is probably from Low German dokke "doll," "with the deterioration of meaning from 'sweetheart' and 'wench' to 'whore.'"
"a gentile, a non-Jew" (plural goyim), 1835, from Hebrew goy "people, nation;" in Mishnaic and Modern Hebrew, also "gentile" (compare gentile). The fem. form of the Hebrew word entered French as gouge "a wench" (15c.).