old maid


  • WordNet 3.6
    • n old maid a card game using a pack of cards from which one queen has been removed; players match cards and the player holding the unmatched queen at the end of the game is the loser (or `old maid')
    • n old maid the loser in a game of old maid
    • n old maid an elderly unmarried woman
    • n old maid commonly cultivated Old World woody herb having large pinkish to red flowers
    • n old maid any of various plants of the genus Zinnia cultivated for their variously and brightly colored flower heads
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Old maid (Bot) A woman, somewhat advanced in years, who has never been married; a spinster.
    • Old maid See under Old.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Old maid a woman left unmarried: a card game
    • Old maid a woman who has not been married, and is past the usual age of marriage: a simple game played by matching cards from a pack from which a card (usually a queen) has been removed
    • ***


  • William Blake
    “Prudence is a rich, ugly, old maid courted by incapacity.”
  • Josh Billings
    “Old maids sweeten their tea with scandal.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. eald; Dut. oud; Ger. alt.


In literature:

This was accounted for by the fact that there were no old maids in that polygamous country.
"Ranching, Sport and Travel" by Thomas Carson
Marie Beeson said some girls were born old maids, and surely I am one.
"A Little Girl in Old Detroit" by Amanda Minnie Douglas
She's one of these nice, sweet, sensible lookin' girls, almost vergin' on the old maid.
"Shorty McCabe on the Job" by Sewell Ford
She was a horrid old maid.
"Boycotted" by Talbot Baines Reed
She had been an old maid in her cradle, and had gone on steadily growing old maidier ever since.
"Flaming June" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
Occasionally she would somewhat tartly assert that he was a regular old maid.
"Clayhanger" by Arnold Bennett
It is merely a woman, an old maid, perhaps as friendless as myself, Miss Charlotte Grayson.
"Before the Dawn" by Joseph Alexander Altsheler
My dear, my dear, so you want to know why I am an old maid?
"The Moving Finger" by Mary Gaunt
Old Jaggs called at half-past nine that night, and was admitted by the maid, who stalked in front of him and opened his door.
"The Angel of Terror" by Edgar Wallace
For my own part, I don't believe in old maids.
"Prudence Says So" by Ethel Hueston
Jeanne saw the old maid's profile in the window, with the lighted lamp behind.
"The works of Guy de Maupassant, Vol. 5 (of 8)" by Guy de Maupassant 1850-1893
Remember that you are an Old Maid.
"The Love Affairs of an Old Maid" by Lilian Bell
I am, as they call me, 'an old maid,' destined to pass through life alone and unloved.
"Olive A Novel" by Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
Not a word was spoken, and in five minutes the old maid's tears were over.
"Aunt Rachel" by David Christie Murray
Now, there are some old maids that are really fine.
"The Grammar School Boys of Gridley" by H. Irving Hancock
The old maids, however, were quite happy and resigned to waiting for their dinner.
"Adam Johnstone's Son" by F. Marion Crawford
An old-maid being at a loss for a pin-cushion, made use of an onion for the purpose.
"The New Pun Book" by Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey
The poor, old maid-servants cannot touch a morsel of it.
"Debts of Honor" by Maurus Jókai
There's nobody left like him, and I won't have you an old maid!
"Hopes and Fears scenes from the life of a spinster" by Charlotte M. Yonge
I'm sure that his name is James, and that he has six old maid daughters.
"The Little Colonel's Christmas Vacation" by Annie Fellows Johnston

In poetry:

For him who, to the music
Her pines and hemlocks played,
Set the old and tender story
Of the lorn Acadian maid;
"A Welcome To Lowell" by John Greenleaf Whittier
An Elven-maid there was of old,
A shining star by day.
Her mantle white was hemmed with gold,
Her shoes of silver-grey.
"Nimrodel" by J R R Tolkien
"HE labours more than you
At worsted work, and frames it;
In old maids' albums, too,
Sticks seaweed - yes, and names it!"
"The Rival Curates" by William Schwenck Gilbert
And all the ghosts of buried woes were laid
That heard the song of this sweet sorceress;
The Past grew to a dream of old distress,
And merry were the hearts of man and maid.
"Spring Dirge" by Victor James Daley
When rival adorers come courting a maid,
There's something or other may often be said,
Why HE should be pitched upon rather than HIM.
This wasn't the case with Old PAUL and Old TIM.
"Old Paul and Old Tim" by William Schwenck Gilbert
Had I been young EMILY, I should have said,
"You're both much too old for a pretty young maid,
Threescore at the least you are verging upon";
But I wasn't young EMILY. Let us get on.
"Old Paul and Old Tim" by William Schwenck Gilbert

In news:

Bastille Day is this Saturday, and whether you prefer to drink old-world wines, indulge in buttery delicacies, or dash across the street in a French maid costume, there's a celebration out there for you.
A 44-year-old woman who worked as a maid at homes in Clarke, Oconee and Madison counties is the focus of an investigation in the theft of about $35,000 in silverware and jewelry.
Opera Theater Oregon recreates Menotti 's radio opera, 'Old Maid and the Thief'.
Eddie Morgan From left, Erik Hundtoft, Christine Meadows and Tom Jackson perform Gian Carlo Menotti 's "The Old Maid and the Thief".
A 17-year-maid from Zimbabwe was caught lacing the porridge of her employers' four-year-old child with her own HIV-positive menstrual blood, according to a report.
A 17-year-maid from Zimbabwe was caught lacing the porridge of her employers' four-year-old child with her own HIV-positive menstrual blood , according to a report.
Opera Theater Oregon gives ' Old Maid and the Thief' a clever turn.
Opera Theater Oregon recreates Menotti's radio opera, ' Old Maid and the Thief'.
Eddie Morgan From left, Erik Hundtoft, Christine Meadows and Tom Jackson perform Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Old Maid and the Thief".
Susan is what we call an "old maid", a 47-year-old Scottish woman who spent her life caring for her elderly parents.
In Australia's rural west, Miranda Fox, the old maid daughter of a miserly millionaire, goes to battle with her siblings after being cheated out of her father's inheritance.
The sister of 29-year-old bride-to-be Kate -- will act as maid of honor at the wedding, Clarence House confirmed.
Evelyn Lozada's PETA ad is proof that she is far from an old maid.
" Hemingway 's Girl" is about a 19-year-old maid who goes to work for the Hemingway family in 1935.
Their 13-year-old maid, "Shanti", was locked in their New Delhi apartment, alone, with bread that ran out within two days.