mid 17th century: from Narragansett squaws 'woman', with related forms in many Algonquin dialects.
Until relatively recently, the word squaw was used neutrally in anthropological and other contexts to mean ‘an 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 American Indian women have meant that, in modern North American English, the word cannot be used in any sense without being offensive. In British English the word has not acquired offensive connotations to the same extent, but it is nevertheless uncommon and now regarded as old-fashioned.
Definition of squaw in:
- The US English dictionary