from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A woman hired to clean.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US A woman who has been hired to do general housework, such as clean a house, or place of business.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • After this, May sunk into obscurity, and years of poverty followed, whereupon she took positions as a scrubwoman, a housekeeper, and a janitor.

    Cocotte of the Week: May Yohé | Edwardian Promenade 2010

  • Hopeless; there were far too many English, and not even the lowliest scrubwoman was of any other color than white.

    The Serpent's Shadow Lackey, Mercedes 2001

  • As the dizzy debutante Lotte L'stig, she found herself during a flood, disguised as a scrubwoman, proceeding downriver in a bathtub with rich playboy Max Schlepzig.

    Gravity's Rainbow Pynchon, Thomas 1978

  • The fat Irishwoman had worked at the hotel two years, the scrubwoman almost that long.

    Working With the Working Woman Cornelia Stratton Parker

  • But most of the discourse of my scrubwoman is cheerful.

    Walking-Stick Papers Robert Cortes Holliday

  • There was Gregson -- now spick and span in his maroon livery -- haughtily mounting guard over the open doorway while a belated scrubwoman was cleaning the steps and areaway.

    The Girl from Sunset Ranch Or, Alone in a Great City Amy Bell Marlowe

  • The maids were in my way, so I sent them off for a holiday and the scrubwoman and I tackled the job and went through with it like wildfire.

    Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus Jessie Graham [pseud.] Flower

  • This Thursday up in the recreation room I found an ancient scrubwoman, patched and darned to pieces, with stringy thin hair, and the fat, jovial Irishwoman from the help's pantry.

    Working With the Working Woman Cornelia Stratton Parker

  • I know that if you would contrive to find favour with your scrubwoman you would often be like that person told of by mine who "laughed until she thought his heart would break."

    Walking-Stick Papers Robert Cortes Holliday

  • My scrubwoman tells me that she is "the only fair one" of her family.

    Walking-Stick Papers Robert Cortes Holliday


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  • "A woman hired to clean." Amer. Heritage Dictionary. A pretty word in its down-to-earth way.

    April 7, 2008

  • I agree - good mouthfeel here.

    April 8, 2008

  • Wow. You really think so? I think this is one of the ugliest words in existence. *puzzled*

    April 8, 2008

  • It reminds me of chapped hands, actually.

    April 8, 2008

  • It's the one-handed typing that does it, r.

    April 8, 2008

  • Ah. *runs off to find hand cream*

    April 8, 2008

  • This is without question one of the five most beautiful words of any language anywhere in the known or unknown universe (& that includes all black holes incidentally).

    If you don't have scrubwoman on one of your wonderful lists c_b, I may call for a vote to have you summarily evicted from the Wordie webspace as a dismal fraud.

    April 8, 2008

  • Have you ever scrubbed? Or been a woman? ... You have? Well... I'm still not adding it to my lists.

    This word reminds me not only of chapped hands, but of a dingy set of old clothes--worn cotton with a faded, pathetic print on it, like an old, threadbare calico. Swollen, sore legs. Drab, stringy hair tied up in a bandana. Sore, red hands, and the smell of bleach. No way is this a nice word.

    And this whole mental image reminds me of a story I read, about a woman who was being questioned at Ellis Island early in the twentieth century--being tested for mental competence to enter the United States. It's an example of how the questions, supposedly designed to test logic and intelligence, were not drafted with cultural differences in mind. The woman was asked: "How would you scrub a set of steps? Would you start from the top or the bottom?"

    Her answer: "I did not come to America to scrub steps."

    April 8, 2008

  • I have orange-footed scrubfowl rooting around in the banyan tree roots in front of me as I type.

    I think scrub is a dense, hard-working kind of word.

    April 8, 2008

  • Just kidding c_b!

    Assuredly scrubwoman is more fun to say than to be. Similiarly syphilitic is more fun to say than to be.

    Scrub nurse is cool too by the way.

    April 8, 2008

  • Scrub is definitely a hardworking word. I like it when it refers to the landscape, though--go figure. And scrubfowl is just freaky.

    I knew you were kidding, palooka. :) You're right on about syphilitic. And that's a sentence I bet I'll never say or type again.

    April 8, 2008

  • *runs back in with hand cream*

    Anyone want some?

    April 8, 2008

  • This word reminds me of Sadie the Cleaning Lady

    April 11, 2008