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maiden

Line breaks: maid¦en
Pronunciation: /ˈmeɪd(ə)n
 
/

Definition of maiden in English:

noun

1 archaic An unmarried girl or young woman: two knights fought to win the hand of a fair maiden
More example sentences
  • She was humming to herself an enchanting melody, and the young Count stood there entranced by the fair young maiden.
  • In the meantime, not far off from where the battle was, a young and fair maiden was riding abroad on her beautiful white stallion, Evelyn.
  • These constricted walkways close one in but then open into wide courtyards where young maidens dance around wells, their sing-song voices light and lustrous.
1.1A virgin.
Example sentences
  • This paper deals with another manifestation of mortuary garlanding - the custom of making maidens ' garlands for deceased young female virgins.
  • The end of the rite is a year early, and virginal women have gathered to burn their tassels in the presence of the King who is expected to choose his 17th wife from the maidens.
  • Maidens and bachelors who want husbands and wives can dance for their mates.
2 (also maiden over) Cricket An over in which no runs are scored.
Example sentences
  • Three maidens and a wicket in the first five overs increased the pressure on the Dolphins batsmen as they set off chasing a big target.
  • In an innings of 66 overs, there were seven maidens.
  • ‘I felt I bowled as well as I've done for years,’ he says of an impressive display which began with four successive maidens.

adjective

[attributive] Back to top  
1(Of an older woman) unmarried: a maiden aunt
More example sentences
  • With her death, the Eakins household consisted of three unmarried sisters, a maiden aunt, Tom, and his widowed father.
  • The Baldwins reminded me of many such maiden ladies I knew back in the Little Town.
  • And when I went to school it was a whole generation, all the teachers were all maiden ladies, and I think all of their young men went away and never came back.
Synonyms
1.1(Of a female animal) not having mated: the top-priced maiden heifer
More example sentences
  • The study acknowledged that large farms would most likely have a larger number of barren and maiden mares thus a larger number of mares bred in February.
  • One hundred maiden heifers are entered for the sale ranging in age from 15 to 20 months.
  • The trade was very lively with in-calf and maiden heifers selling very well.
2Being or involving the first attempt or act of its kind: the Titanic’s maiden voyage
More example sentences
  • A North Yorkshire couple whose Mediterranean cruise came to an abrupt end when their ship broke down 15 hours into its maiden voyage say they can't wait to get back on board.
  • In his maiden budget speech Jaswant Singh acknowledged the growth contributed by industry in the current fiscal and talked of consolidating the growth further.
  • Anand had won this tournament in his maiden attempt in 1989 and also in 1998, 2003 and now in 2004.
Synonyms
first, initial, inaugural, introductory, initiatory, proving
2.1Denoting a horse that has never won a race, or a race intended for such horses: the Beckhampton Maiden Stakes
More example sentences
  • This is a meeting which can throw up some interesting horses for the future from the two-year-old maiden races.
  • The opening two-year-old maiden race was won by a decent horse 12 months ago in Warm Heart, and it would come as no surprise to see this event throw-up another useful youngster.
  • This progressive two-year-old gained a workmanlike success in a maiden race over this course and distance at the beginning of the month and left the impression that he could step up again.
2.2(Of a tree or other fruiting plant) in its first year of growth.
Example sentences
  • If a maiden plum tree is planted, that is, a tree within one year of budding or grafting, pruning may be carried out in the Spring, after deciding on tree form.
  • Assuming a maiden plum tree has been purchased, this would be planted in the Autumn and, later on, when the tree has settled down, and you are wondering how to prune plum trees, it should be pruned to a bud, 9 to 12 inches above the height of the lowest branch desired.

Origin

Old English mægden, from a Germanic diminutive meaning 'maid, virgin'; related to German Mädchen, diminutive of Magd 'maid', from an Indo-European root shared by Old Irish mug 'boy, servant'.

More
  • The ancient root of maiden is also that of Scottish and Irish Gaelic mac ‘son’, the element in surnames beginning Mac- or Mc-, and seems to have referred to a young person of either sex. In the Middle Ages maiden was shortened to maid, and the two continued alongside each other, both meaning ‘a young female’ and ‘a virgin of any age’, and also ‘a female servant’, for which maid is now the usual term. This ambiguity led to words and phrases such as girl or young lady replacing maiden and maid in the ‘young female’ sense. Cricketers trying to bowl a maiden over are hoping to ensure that no runs are scored from the six balls they are bowling. The idea, dating from the 1850s, is that the over is ‘virgin’ or ‘unproductive’.

Derivatives

maidenish

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • "Pooh! pooh!"cries the squire; "all stuff and nonsense; all maidenish tricks."
  • This Maurice was a man much distinguished for his honor and courage, of an almost maidenish modesty, true to his word, and firm in his resolution.

maiden-like

2
adjective
Example sentences
  • Erial's response was to merely blush with maiden-like pleasure and embarrassment, which was also noticed with a subdued form of glee by onlookers.
  • The Lady Libussa deported herself in a very maiden-like manner on hearing this address, and covered her face with a veil that she might conceal the gentle blush that gave a deeper colour to her cheek.

Words that rhyme with maiden

Aden, Aidan, Haydn, laden

Definition of maiden in:

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