c.1175, "a virgin, a young unmarried woman," shortening of maiden
(q.v.). Like that word, used in M.E. of unmarried men as well as women. Domestic help sense is from 1390, from sense in maidservant
(1526). In ref. to Joan of Arc, attested from 1548 (cf. Fr. la Pucelle
). Maid Marian,
one of Robin Hood's companions, first recorded c.1525, perhaps from Fr., where Robin et Marian
have been stock names for country lovers since 13c. Maid of Honor
(c.1586) originally was "unmarried lady of noble birth who attends a queen or princess;" meaning "principal bridesmaid" is attested from 1895.