old maid

noun
1.
Disparaging and Offensive. an elderly or confirmed spinster.
2.
a fussy, timid, prudish person.
3.
Cards.
a.
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.
b.
the loser of such a game.

Origin:
1520–30


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.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
old maid
 
n
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
 
old-'maidish
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

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").

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
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.
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