Melwen (S."Lovemaiden", pl. Milwyn), also Sweetsinger and Nightsinger, originally was a common term in the Dúnedain Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor to designate a female minstrel and dancer who was a learned entertainer and companion, however the term soon fell into disgrace and became a synonym for a mistress, courtisan, and later an ordinary prostitute. Since prostitution was not allowed or at least not socially acceptable under the Dúnadan rule, sweetsingers often formally worked as seamstresses or in brothels disguised as bathhouses.
Sweetsingers were usually recruited from the lowest and poorest classes of society and were usually common women, not of Dúnadan heritage. A few brothels however gained riches and reputation for service and discretion and some Milwin were quite wealthy, although disrespected, citizens.