Add an -s, lose an -en?

For some reason, while correcting a typo, it occurs to me that a woman of many virtues may not be a woman of virtue and this suddenly brings back a memory from high school, where I had a friend who read old writing about knights and dragons and so forth. She was convinced that the writing had code words, and in particular, maid and maiden were not interchangeable. After a maiden got deflowered, she was a maid, per my friend. So, in our high school conversations about losing our virginity – which were incessant, for a while – we used the coded shorthand, losing our “-en”.


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