Definition of old maid in English:

old maid


  • 1derogatory A single woman regarded as too old for marriage.

    ‘if you don't mind your tongue, you'll die an old maid’
    • ‘The only woman who would wear an outfit like that is an old maid who is desperate to catch a husband.’
    • ‘I suppose I shall die a decrepit old maid who never found a gentleman worthy enough of wooing her!’
    • ‘As illegal divers working for the Asian export market continue to thin abalone populations, the survivors are dying off as old maids and bachelors.’
    • ‘They don't know if you're single, married, divorced, an old maid or a lesbian.’
    • ‘Bradford was practically exclusively raised from his mother's side of the family, his aunt Jessica and Patricia, two old maids.’
    • ‘I didn't mind thinking that I would die an old maid, because I was thinking that I would die a rich old maid.’
    • ‘I do not even flinch when I hear them whispering that I'll die an old maid, impecunious and alone in my bed.’
    • ‘Saint Catherine died a virgin, and so was also associated with old maids.’
    • ‘But don't worry, I promise you I won't die an old maid.’
    • ‘I would be an old maid before you could ever afford marriage!’
    • ‘‘Fifty years on from now,’ he said, ‘Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and old maids bicycling to holy communion through the morning mist.’’
    • ‘That was a dangerous age for an unmarried woman, very much at risk of becoming an old maid if her father did not find a suitor for her quickly.’
    • ‘Most women your age are married or engaged to be, and yet you seem to be the only female within a thousand miles that seems utterly determined to die an old maid!’
    • ‘Remain locked in this room and die an old maid for all I care,’ he stated, leaving the room in a state of rage.’
    • ‘And since I do not wish my daughter to die an old maid, I must adhere to her wishes.’
    • ‘One study of the teen market noted that ‘the fever of getting married young has risen to such a pitch that girls who are not engaged before they finish college feel that they stand a good chance of becoming old maids.’’
    • ‘It's like being called a eunuch or an old maid; one always hears that faint sneer of disdain and condescension mixed with pity.’
    • ‘At this rate I thought I would die an old maid with five cats named Mipsy, Pipsy, Squeaky, Alice, and Sam.’
    • ‘Do you wish for you and your sister to grow into single old maids?’
    • ‘The daughter was heartbroken, never married and died an old maid.’
    1. 1.1 A prim and fussy person.
      ‘he said John was an old maid’
      • ‘The epitome of a fussy old maid, Mrs. B. operated with a few less sandwiches than it takes to make a picnic.’
      demure, proper, prim and proper, formal, stuffy, strait-laced, prudish
      View synonyms
  • 2mass noun A card game in which players collect pairs and try not to be left with an odd penalty card, typically a queen.

    • ‘The school is also encouraging parents to introduce their children to cards games such as old maid, snap and bridge.’
    • ‘As in old maid, you do not know what card you are going to take, and the player you are taking the card from does not know which one you will take.’
    • ‘Steph has a poker face as good as my 4 year old daughter playing old maid.’
  • 3West Indian

    another term for periwinkle


old maid