- Disparaging and Offensive. an elderly or confirmed spinster.
- a fussy, timid, prudish person.
- 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.
- the loser of such a game.
Origin of old maid
First recorded in 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for old maid
It was an old-maid's apprehensions, and you forgot the whole thing.Barrington
Charles James Lever
She looks like the picture of the old maid on the old-maid cards.The Mystery at Dark Cedars
You would as soon hear a 'No' from an old-maid as from the House of Commons.
She was an old-maid school-teacher, ugly enough to stop a clock.Rough-Hewn
The duties of an old-maid aunt cannot be entered upon lightly.
- 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
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