an old maid

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 ˈmaid

(old-fashioned, disapproving) a woman who has never married and is now no longer young
See also: maid, old
References in classic literature ?
"But then, to be an old maid at last, like Miss Bates!"
"But still, you will be an old maid! and that's so dreadful!"
I cannot see why she must be always running down the men, even if she is an old maid. I am an old maid, but you never hear ME abusing the men.
The head woman, Madame Lardot's factotum, an old maid of forty-six, hideous to behold, lived on the opposite side of the passage to the chevalier.
"Mother is not an old maid," said his virgin sister with pinched lips.
She had (if you will excuse me for saying it) an old maid's hatred of the handsome young woman, who lured your father away from home, and set up a secret (in a manner of speaking) between her brother and herself.
And he saw all that Pestsov had been maintaining at dinner of the liberty of woman, simply from getting a glimpse of the terror of an old maid's existence and its humiliation in Kitty's heart; and loving her, he felt that terror and humiliation, and at once gave up his arguments.
Kern points to the Elliot and Musgrove families' treatment of Anne as Austen's representation of the difficulty of being an old maid: "all the unpleasant tasks are assigned to Anne; she is the one who must play the piano while the others dance at a family gathering; she is left behind when her father and older sister take a solicitor's daughter with them to Bath despite the Lady's lower social position; she is the one to nurse her small nephew when he breaks his collarbone" (211).
I'm an old maid of 33, and have been in the property-casualty business for 10 years.
Here lies Ann Mann Who lived an old maid But died an old Mann.
Seton's estimation, are women who marry merely to avoid the stigma of being called an old maid, those of whom it is said, "she 'married to die a Mrs.'" (12).
The lady who put us up was an old maid, totally out of her depth with two large 11 and 12-year-old boys.
I don't see myself as an old maid but they seem to.
(118.) "Honorable Often to Be an Old Maid," May 1858, quoted in Cogan, All-American Girl, 107.
Since I'm single, people think I'm just an old maid. I talked to my pastor, who comes from a family of 14 kids, and he said, "Oh, but they're so cute."