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old maid

Disparaging and Offensive. an elderly or confirmed spinster.
a fussy, timid, prudish person.
  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 of old maid
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for old maid
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of course, when it came from an old maid, it made a difference.

    The Burial of the Guns Thomas Nelson Page
  • With eyes like those, said the old maid, one might even see through a door.

  • And they are like an old maid's pearls in connection with that middle-aged, one-horse little city.

    A Voyage of Consolation Sara Jeannette Duncan
  • That morning, however, it was for Madame Quenu that the old maid had a shock in store.

  • "I'm ready," said Rogron, coming in and carrying off the colonel, who bowed in a lover-like way to the old maid.

    Pierrette Honore de Balzac
  • "Well, that's more than I can tell you," replied the old maid.

  • And nobody can twit me with being an old maid, neither, for when a lady's got money there's no such thing!

    Miss Million's Maid Bertha Ruck
  • The Bondon had already disappeared within the old maid's bag.

British Dictionary definitions for old maid

old maid

a woman regarded as unlikely ever to marry; spinster
(informal) a prim, fastidious, or excessively cautious person
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
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