1 offensive A North American Indian woman or wife.
- 1.1North American A woman or wife.
Until relatively recently, the word squaw was used neutrally in anthropological and other contexts to mean a North American Indian woman or wife. With changes in the political climate in the second half of the 20th century, however, the derogatory attitudes of the past towards North American Indian women mean that the word cannot now be used in any sense without being regarded as offensive
Mid 17th century from Narragansett squaws ‘woman’, with related forms in many Algonquian dialects.