handmaiden

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n handmaiden a personal maid or female attendant
    • n handmaiden in a subordinate position "theology should be the handmaiden of ethics","the state cannot be a servant of the church"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Handmaiden A maid that waits at hand; a female servant or attendant.
    • Handmaiden Something or someone serving in a subordinate position; as, theology should be the handmaiden of ethics.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n handmaiden An earlier form of handmaid.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Handmaiden a female servant
    • ***

Quotations

  • Karl Kraus
    Karl%20Kraus
    “Language is the mother of thought, not its handmaiden.”

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. hand; in all Teut. tongues, perh. rel. to Goth. hinthan, to seize.

Usage

In literature:

Our roof happened to command a view of the terrace where a bride and her handmaidens were making merry with drums and coffee.
"Southern Arabia" by Theodore Bent
Thora was handmaiden to Gudrid; Bertha handmaid to Freydissa.
"The Norsemen in the West" by R.M. Ballantyne
Did not Sally wish the handmaiden a merry Christmas?
"Somehow Good" by William de Morgan
But there were two very nice, pretty girls there whom I must speak of, who seemed to be handmaidens to the mistress of the house.
"Forgotten Tales of Long Ago" by E. V. Lucas
The Japanese has always, if I may so express it, used art as the handmaiden of utilitarianism.
"The Empire of the East" by H. B. Montgomery
The handmaidens had deserted their cushions and were milling about in affrighted confusion.
"The Copper-Clad World" by Harl Vincent
Occasionally she selects slaves from among them to replenish the ranks of her handmaidens.
"The Gods of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Politics of a shady nature was the handmaiden of the local administration.
"Negro Migration during the War" by Emmett J. Scott
She was watching eagerly, through half-closed eyelids, everything her neat handmaiden did.
"Kristy's Rainy Day Picnic" by Olive Thorne Miller
Had not the stage lowered music to the position of a lascivious handmaiden?
"Melomaniacs" by James Huneker
***

In poetry:

There was none like thee in the land;
The girls that were thy bondwomen
Did bind thee with a purple band
Upon thy forehead, that all men
Should know thee for God’s handmaiden.
"Aholibah" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Joseph had three workmen in his stall,
To serve him well upon;
The first of them were Peter and Paul,
The third of them was John.
Mary, God’s handmaiden,
Bring us to thy Son’s ken.
"A Christmas Carol" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
She must ever approach Thee as servant his master,
Or as handmaiden looks to her mistress's eye,
She must spread out her palms in request and petition
And turn herself humbly to Thee in her cry.
"My Soul Shall Declare" by Shlomo ibn Gabirol

In news:

Always a Handmaiden --Never a Bride February 23, 2000.
Since the UK won the bid back in 2005, politicians have been the handmaidens to the Olympic extravaganza that is just about to start.
Student Loans Are Handmaidens of the Devil.
***