In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Manciple’s Tale, the teller questions the linguistic distinction between different types of sexually deviant women:
Ther nys no difference, trewely,
Betwixe a wyf that is of heigh degree,
If of hir body dishonest she bee,
And a povre wenche, oother than this—
If so be they werke bothe amys—
But that the gentle, in estaat above,
She shal be cleped his lady, as in love;
And, for that oother is a povre womman,
She shal be cleped his wenche or his lemman.
And, God it woot, myn owene deere brother,
Men leyn that oon as lowe as...