maid


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old maid

1. dated A disparaging term for an older, unmarried woman. She had a few suitors in her youth, but now Edna is an old maid. My parents are pressuring me to get married—they don't want any of their daughters to become an old maid.
2. A fussy, prudish person. You better make sure the place settings are perfect, what with the old maid coming to dinner tonight.
3. A card game in which players pair matching cards and try to avoid being the last one holding the only card with no mate, dubbed the "old maid." When my kids were little, they loved playing old maid.
See also: maid, old

an old maid

  (old-fashioned)
an impolite way of referring to a woman who has never married
Usage notes: In the past, young women who were not married were called maids.
Terrified of becoming an old maid, she married the first man who made her an offer.
See also: maid, old
References in classic literature ?
A maid, alarmed at the din of breaking glass, entered the room to discover what was the matter.
He had not yet made up his mind whether he would, or would not, give more than a guinea for the wedding-ring; and he wasted the rest of the day to such disastrous purpose in one jeweler's shop after another, that he and the captain, and the new lady's maid (who traveled with them), were barely in time to catch the last train from London that evening.
Now the maid saw him and screamed faintly, then grew silent, wondering at the greatness and the fierce eyes of the man who spoke to her.
Only when the lark shall mate with the nightingale, and the honey-bee and the clock-beetle keep house together, shall I wed another maid.
When it was evening she said to her bridegroom, 'That stupid maid wants to sleep by your door.
Not only had her estates been taken away, and the maid been deprived of the former protection of the Queen, but the evil Prince John had persecuted her with his attentions.
Now, Josette," continued the old maid, "let us see where we had better put Monsieur de Troisville to sleep.
And he briefly narrated what the maid had seen, and showed the broken stick.
I will come and help you so that you may have everything ready as soon as possible, for all the best young men among your own people are courting you, and you are not going to remain a maid much longer.
Poyser was smoking his pipe, and his good-nature was therefore at its superlative moment, Hetty seized the opportunity of her aunt's absence to say, "Uncle, I wish you'd let me go for a lady's maid.
Hold your tongue, mademoiselle, and do not uselessly trouble yourself to intercede for unworthy people; that a young maid of honor like you should be subjected to a bad example is, certes, a misfortune great enough; but that you should sanction it by your indulgence is what I will not allow.
Nay,' said the maid, 'if you are thirsty, get off yourself, and stoop down by the water and drink; I shall not be your waiting- maid any longer.
When I was a maid, so long as I had a pretty bonnet the devil might ha' found me in heels.
She knew that if she called her maid and told her she wanted to get up, the maid would prevent her, and perhaps send for the doctor, and she had not the strength now to struggle or argue.
she said crossly to the maid who kept her waiting some minutes.