1765, from match (n.1) + girl. The tragic story of "The Little Match-Girl" (Danish title Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne) by H.C. Andersen was published first in 1845, translated into English by 1847.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Examples from the Web for match-girl

  • He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand.

    Children's Literature|Charles Madison Curry