bridesmaid

[brahydz-meyd]
noun
  1. a young woman who attends the bride at a wedding ceremony.
  2. Informal. a person, group, etc., that is in a secondary position, never quite attains a goal, etc.: Bridesmaids for 12 seasons, the Eagles finally won the championship.

Origin of bridesmaid

First recorded in 1545–55; bride1 + 's1 + maid
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bridesmaid

bridesmaid

noun
  1. a girl or young unmarried woman who attends a bride at her weddingCompare matron of honour, maid of honour
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

Word Origin and History for bridesmaid
n.

1550s, bridemaid, from bride + maid. The -s- is excrescent but began to appear by 1794 and the form with it predominated by the end of the 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper