follow Dictionary.com

Is Tuesday named for a one-handed god?

old maid

noun
1.
Disparaging and Offensive. an elderly or confirmed spinster.
2.
a fussy, timid, prudish person.
3.
Cards.
  1. a simple game, played with a deck having one card removed, in which the players draw from one another to match pairs and the one holding an odd queen at the end loses.
  2. the loser of such a game.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30
Usage note
The meaning “a spinster” is used with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting. It puts emphasis on the woman’s advanced age and assumed inability to ever attract a husband. See also spinster.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for old maid
  • Her hostess was a busy, unbeautiful old maid, sister and housekeeper of the village physician.
  • So she has to sing about such old-fashioned anxieties as being an old maid and having dreams about scratching her husband's back.
British Dictionary definitions for old maid

old maid

noun
1.
a woman regarded as unlikely ever to marry; spinster
2.
(informal) a prim, fastidious, or excessively cautious person
3.
a card game using a pack from which one card has been removed, in which players try to avoid holding the unpaired card at the end of the game
Derived Forms
old-maidish, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for old maid

simple card game popular with young children. It takes its name from a 19th-century specially illustrated deck of cards showing colourful characters in matching pairs, plus a single old maid card. In Germany the equivalent game is called schwarzer Peter ("black Peter") and in France vieux garcon ("old boy").

Learn more about old maid with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for old maid

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for old

4
5
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with old maid