old maid

See synonyms for old maid on Thesaurus.com
  1. Disparaging and Offensive. an elderly or confirmed spinster.

  2. a fussy, timid, prudish person.

  1. Cards.

    • 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

usage note For old maid

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.

Words Nearby old maid

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use old maid in a sentence

  • And she had struggled valiantly against becoming an embittered old maid; in the main, had succeeded.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • It was her old maid, Pauline, who is here with her in this hotel to-night, and who has looked after her all her life nearly.

    A Butterfly on the Wheel | Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • A caller at the home of Mlle. Cormon, and afterwards at that of M. du Bousquier, who married "the old maid."

    Repertory Of The Comedie Humaine, Complete, A -- Z | Anatole Cerfberr and Jules Franois Christophe
  • We went there on radioed orders, the complaint being phoned into headquarters by some old maid whose sleep was disturbed.

British Dictionary definitions for old maid

old maid

  1. a woman regarded as unlikely ever to marry; spinster

  2. informal a prim, fastidious, or excessively cautious person

  1. 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 of old maid

  • 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