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90s Slang You Should Know

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
First recorded in 1520-30
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. 2017.
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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
  • "It is like an hotel, or an old maid's lodging," thought Durtal.

    En Route J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • 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
  • At the convent there was an old maid who came for a week each month to mend the linen.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • "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
  • We met the old maid almost in hysterics on the road to Lobuc.

  • 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
  • Frances says she's sure I shall be an old maid, and I daresay I shall be.

    Robin Redbreast Mary Louisa Molesworth
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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