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or handmaiden

[hand-meyd] /ˈhændˌmeɪd/
something that is necessarily subservient or subordinate to another:
Ceremony is but the handmaid of worship.
a female servant or attendant.
Origin of handmaid
1350-1400; Middle English; see hand, maid Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for handmaiden
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thou can'st not be a servant or a handmaiden unto one who is little better than an outcast and a vagabond on the earth.

  • Politics of a shady nature was the handmaiden of the local administration.

  • Miss Crankie lifted up her voice and called at its loudest pitch for her handmaiden.

    Merkland Mrs. Oliphant
  • What will she say when she knows how a handmaiden of hers hath been disposed of?

    Nicanor - Teller of Tales C. Bryson Taylor
  • It was her task to feed them all, and give them their water, and never was handmaiden more faithful to her duties.

    Rogues and Vagabonds George R. Sims
  • "Perhaps you will explain, Sylvia," said Aaron, turning impatiently from the handmaiden.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for handmaiden


a person or thing that serves a useful but subordinate purpose: logic is the handmaid of philosophy
(archaic) a female servant or attendant
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
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Word Origin and History for handmaiden



late 14c., from hand (n.) in the sense in close at hand + maid. Cf. Old English handþegn "personal attendant."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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handmaiden in the Bible

servant (Gen. 16:1; Ruth 3:9; Luke 1:48). It is probable that Hagar was Sarah's personal attendant while she was in the house of Pharaoh, and was among those maid-servants whom Abram had brought from Egypt.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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