Some bits of slang are astonishing in their intricacy. For example, an Athanasian wench was an early nineteenth century term for a strumpet or messalinist. Why? Well there was a fourth century chap called Athanasius who was terribly holy and became a saint. He also wrote a creed called the Athanasian Creed. This creed opens:
Quicunque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem...
Which translates roughly as:
Whoever wants to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
The creed is often known by its first two words: Quicunque vult, Whoever wants to.
And thus from the Athanasian Creed to an Athanasian wench or whoever-wants-to girl. The phrase was mentioned in Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue back in 1811 where such a creature is gently described as:
A forward girl, ready to oblige every man that shall ask her.
It seems to me to be a term ripe for resurrection, as it manages to obscure its rather unkind meaning in a distant ecclesiastical reference. Why use a nasty term, when you can just say that a girl is Athanasian?
Try not to think about the cannon