or hand·maid·en

[hand-meyd or hand-meyd-n]
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  1. something that is necessarily subservient or subordinate to another: Ceremony is but the handmaid of worship.
  2. a female servant or attendant.

Origin of handmaid

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at hand, maid
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for handmaiden



  1. a person or thing that serves a useful but subordinate purposelogic is the handmaid of philosophy
  2. archaic a female servant or attendant
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 handmaiden



late 14c., from hand (n.) in the sense in close at hand + maid. Cf. Old English handþegn "personal attendant."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper