old 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 ˈmaid

(old-fashioned, disapproving) a woman who has never married and is now no longer young
See also: maid, old
References in periodicals archive ?
"The New Old Maid" speaks to a topic that's trending and a demographic that's growing.
Critique: "The New Old Maid" is emphatically not anti-marriage or anti-man; rather, it's about how women can enjoy a fulfilling life whether they choose to marry or to remain single.
William Hayley betrays his pseudonymous sobriquet "a friend to the sisterhood" by focusing on "the particular failings of Old Maids"--curiosity, credulity, affectation, envy, and ill nature--far more heavily than "on the particular good qualities of Old Maids"--ingenuity, patience, and charity (ix).
A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Essay on Old Maids. Vol.
READERS LEARN FROM Emma that '"[a] single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else"' (91).
Austen introduces Anne as an old maid, however, through her family's definition of her as past her prime and unmarriageable.
But their image of selective education lies right alongside those bicycling old maids...
The group identifies itself as "a social movement that seeks to reverse the negative attitude towards every unmarried girl who eventually found herself forced to either get married to any man so she could get rid of the title 'old maid,' or hold onto her position, insisting to wait until she finds the right guy," the group's mission statement reads.
This line of thinking holds that if women are to be better wives or better old maids, they must not simply be average.
The texts that allow me to make these claims span Sedgwick's career, demonstrating that she did not falter on this particular stance: From Hope Leslie in 1827, through "Old Maids" in 1834, to her last novel, Married or Single?
The narrator of Sedgwick's 1834 short story "Old Maids," Mrs.
Seven years later, Sedgwick returned to the subject of marriage and spinsterhood in her short story "Old Maids." Susan Koppelman provides a useful overview of the purpose and structure of the old maid tale in nineteenth-century America.
(62.) Lucy Larcom, "Unwedded," in: Old Maids (Boston, 1984): 232-234.
3 (Match 1865): 171-174; and "Aunt Mable's Love Story," by Susan Pindar, in Old Maids, 53-61.
(118.) "Honorable Often to Be an Old Maid," May 1858, quoted in Cogan, All-American Girl, 107.