a young woman who attends the bride at a wedding ceremony.
Informal. a person, group, etc., that is in a secondary position, never quite attains a goal, etc.: Bridesmaids for 12 seasons, the Eagles finally won the championship.

1545–55; bride1 + 's1 + maid Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bridesmaid (ˈbraɪdzˌmeɪd)
matron of honour Compare maid of honour a girl or young unmarried woman who attends a bride at her wedding

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1550s, bridemaid, from bride + maid. The -s- is excrescent but began to appear by 1794 and the form with it predominated by the end of the 19c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Out of the tree they carved an image, and having dressed it as a bride, they
  set it on a bullock-cart with a bridesmaid beside it.
My parents married in a ceremony full of polyester, with purple flower-print
  bridesmaid's dresses.
Vintage bridesmaid dresses can be found in resale or specialty shops.
He acknowledged making an inappropriate remark to a staff member after dancing
  with a bridesmaid at a wedding.
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