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Old maid   /oʊld meɪd/   Listen
Old maid

noun
1.
An elderly unmarried woman.  Synonym: spinster.
2.
Any of various plants of the genus Zinnia cultivated for their variously and brightly colored flower heads.  Synonyms: old maid flower, zinnia.
3.
Commonly cultivated Old World woody herb having large pinkish to red flowers.  Synonyms: Cape periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus, cayenne jasmine, Madagascar periwinkle, periwinkle, red periwinkle, rose periwinkle, Vinca rosea.
4.
The loser in a game of old maid.
5.
A card game using a pack of cards from which one queen has been removed; players match cards and the player holding the unmatched queen at the end of the game is the loser (or 'old maid').






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Old maid" Quotes from Famous Books



... herself from falling into the mire of the commoner sort of small shopkeepers who were pressing into the Square. The end was that Addie fast became what was then called, without any circumlocution, an "old maid," and an uninteresting one, whose days were occupied by church and gossip, and who went over and over the threadbare family tradition. Old Mrs. Clark, her mother, was a realist and never forgot the farm days. ...
— Clark's Field • Robert Herrick

... Hetta Houghton, you're just nowhere. She has lots of money, and lives all alone, and says whatever comes uppermost, and does what she pleases. She goes everywhere, and is up to everything. I always made up my mind I wouldn't be an old maid, but I declare I envy Hetta Houghton. But then she'd be nothing unless she had money. There'll be eight of us, and at this time of the year we dine at half-past seven, sharp. Can I take you anywhere? The carriage can come ...
— Is He Popenjoy? • Anthony Trollope

... allowance for his being a little flighty, you know how rationally, and sensibly, and honourably he talked, when we saw him in the garden. You have heard the dreadful nonsense he has been guilty of this night, and the manner in which he has gone on with that poor unfortunate little old maid. Can anybody doubt how all this has been ...
— The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby • Charles Dickens

... They played "Old Maid" deliberately, solemnly. After a time, Mavis had a strong suspicion that Miss Nippett was cheating in order that Mr Poulter might win; also, that Mr Poulter was manoeuvring the cards so that Mavis might not be declared ...
— Sparrows - The Story of an Unprotected Girl • Horace W. C. Newte

... concerned, and Marryat, in spite of occasional lapses of taste, preferred to write like a gentleman. But if there is no horse-play there is a great deal of what I hope it is permissible to describe as 'lark.' The sour old maid Miss Ossulton, her niece Cecilia, who, if she has not much character, is still a very nice girl, the frisky widow Mrs. Lascelles, make a capital trio. Given a gallant dashing smuggler, who is really a gentleman in disguise, in possession of the yacht, and determined ...
— The Pirate and The Three Cutters • Frederick Marryat

... like Lydia Languish, for a hero of romance, and beguiling the interval with reading "The Delicate Distress," and "The Mistakes of the Heart"? Not at all! The best way to prepare for marriage is to prepare yourself to be like Bridget Elia, "an incomparable old maid." ...
— Stray Thoughts for Girls • Lucy H. M. Soulsby

... was his pretty wife's chief amusement, when her delicate fingers ached with embroidery, or her head spun with efforts to learn housekeeping from old Keery, the time-out-of-mind authority in the Hyde family, a bad-humored, good-tempered old maid,—it was, indeed, the little Southerner's only amusement,—to make the polish and mustiness of those dreary front-parlors gay and fragrant with flowers; and though Judge Hyde's sense of the ridiculous was ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 22, Aug., 1859 • Various

... and she supposes him gone. As he is the beloved of her heart, I wonder she thinks of making this visit now he is absent: but we shall all be glad to see my aunt Nell. She is a good creature, though an old maid. I hope the old lady has not utterly lost either her invention, or memory; and then, between both, I shall be entertained with a great number of love-stories of the last age; and perhaps of some dangers and escapes; which may serve for warnings for Emily. Alas! alas! they will come ...
— The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Volume 4 (of 7) • Samuel Richardson

... Beulah's psychical gifts because she noticed two years ago that when the family was playing "Old Maid" Beulah always knew in whose hands the dangerous queen was to be found. Then they began to experiment with cards in the family circle, and her ability to know of what the mother or the sister was thinking became more and more interesting ...
— Psychology and Social Sanity • Hugo Muensterberg

... that's exactly why she said it. She intended to let me know where she was going, thinking it would break my heart. She admits she is bent on getting married, and says she knows I'll live and die an old maid. She hates me, Alfred; with all her soul she hates me. She will never rest satisfied till she sees me plumb down and out. It all started through no fault of mine, too. You remember that young preacher, Mr. Wrenn, that boarded about in the families ...
— Dixie Hart • Will N. Harben

... the andirons, and are devoid of all the camp-fire sentiment, have some asbestos gas-logs. There will be no dust or dirt, no covering up at night with ashes, no bill for cord-wood, and it will look as stiff and prim as any New England old maid and be as devoid of sentiment and art as a department-store ...
— Shelters, Shacks and Shanties • D.C. Beard

... the better, or everything and everyone will be changed out of knowledge! It is beyond my imaginative powers to think of Jill as a young lady with her hair up, and Jack at Oxford, and Betty "an old maid." (There's not much of the old maid about that photograph she sent out last mail!) All the fellows admire it tremendously, and it gives quite an air of beauty and fashion to my little cabin. I never thought Betty would turn out so pretty, but there's no denying that she looks a lot ...
— Betty Trevor • Mrs. G. de Horne Vaizey

... repressed, and I return to my carriage, swearing to die an old maid. Love is undoubtedly an incarnation, and how many conditions are needful before it can take place! We are not certain of never quarreling with ourselves, how much less so when there are two? This is a problem which ...
— Letters of Two Brides • Honore de Balzac

... by their readiness to resist even the lordly personage if convinced of their own justness, or to kneel down even to a child if they acknowledge their own wrong. Incidently the touching devotion of the old maid servant Kiyo to the hero will prove a standing reproach to the inconstant, unfaithful servants of which the number is ever increasing these days in Tokyo. The story becomes doubly interesting by the fact that Mr. K. Natsume, when quite young, held a position of teacher of English at a middle ...
— Botchan (Master Darling) • Mr. Kin-nosuke Natsume, trans. by Yasotaro Morri

... sister living in the city, an old maid who had withdrawn from the world, and in happier times had been the butt of the family's sarcasms. She did nothing all day but go to church, say her prayers, and caress her cat; and whenever she and her cronies came together ...
— A Hungarian Nabob • Maurus Jokai

... Kate looks after the things I eat; and Sarah, Sarah looks after everything and everybody, same as always. Blast it all! If they'd give me a show, I'd be as good as ever; good as ever, Daniel. What can a man do; what can a man do, with an only sister and her five old maid daughters looking after him from morning until night, from morning until night, Daniel? Tell them I am a full grown man; don't do no good; no good at all. Blast it all; poor old things, just got to mother ...
— The Shepherd of the Hills • Harold Bell Wright

... Rosemary, pensively, "that an old maid is a woman who never could have married and a spinster ...
— Master of the Vineyard • Myrtle Reed

... "A woman—a rich old maid, I believe, by name McLeod, who knows enough to drive a sharp bargain—has taken it. Some one is to set up the business, I heard; an impecunious nephew, no doubt. No one but a fool would make a venture when the market is overstocked ...
— Hope Mills - or Between Friend and Sweetheart • Amanda M. Douglas

... all to rights. I had seen Miss Snooks in George Cruikshank, and at once all my perplexing feelings were accounted for. She was Judy—she was Punch's wife. Yes, Miss Snooks, the old maid, was the wife of Mr. Punch. There was no denying the fact. The same small weazel eyes, the same sharp voice and hooked chin, and the same nose—at once mountain, cape, &c. &c. belonged alike to Judy and Miss Snooks. They were two persons; the same, yet, different—different, yet the same—the ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction No. 485 - Vol. 17, No. 485, Saturday, April 16, 1831 • Various

... anything but your stupid worsted work. You will be an old maid, Elizabeth. Did you ...
— Ishmael - In the Depths • Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

... adaptability, ambition, and a peculiar power over women, succeeds in gaining for himself an enviable position in the upper circles of the bourgeoisie, as well as the hand and fortune of a rich and pious old maid, Mlle. Habert, whom his youth and charms entice. Quite another Bel Ami, as Jules Lemaitre[93] remarks; but the dissimilarity is no less striking than the resemblance. While the hero of Marivaux yields easily to temptation, we feel that ...
— A Selection from the Comedies of Marivaux • Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux

... fourpenny piece are thrown into the bowl, and all begin to eat, each dipping to the bottom of the bowl. He or she who brings up the ring will be the first married; whoever brings up the button will be an old maid or an old bachelor; and he or she who brings out the coin will become the richest. As may be imagined, this creates great fun. When seven shilling gold pieces were in circulation, this was the coin ...
— A Righte Merrie Christmasse - The Story of Christ-Tide • John Ashton

... things—seeing things—and after a while I did get hardened—and ceased to be revolted. I learned to look upon all that sort of thing as a matter of course. But it was too late then. I had lost what little looks I had ever possessed. I grew to look like an old maid long before I was thirty. Why is nature ...
— Black Oxen • Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

... she goes, with a laudable matrimonial resolution. Heigho! with such an example before my eyes, I believe I shall never have resolution to die an old maid. Oh, Charles, Charles—why did you take me at my word!—Bless me! sure I saw him then—'tis he indeed! So, my gentleman, are you there? I'll just retire and watch ...
— The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor - Vol I, No. 2, February 1810 • Samuel James Arnold

... and devout in everything—even in cooking preserves. To the professor, Jane had been surrounded by a sort of halo of preserves, ever since he had recovered from his awe of her unapproachable angularity as to allude to her before admiring play-mates as the "old maid." ...
— A Williams Anthology - A Collection of the Verse and Prose of Williams College, 1798-1910 • Compiled by Edwin Partridge Lehman and Julian Park

... that he is related to some gentleman of the Renaissance, even while he boasts of being able to "buy him up." If the Italians were really great, why—they were really Germans; and if they weren't really Germans, well then, they weren't really great. It is an occupation for an old maid. ...
— The Appetite of Tyranny - Including Letters to an Old Garibaldian • G.K. Chesterton

... Miss Crawley for the new governess, how good it was of Mrs. Bute Crawley not to be jealous, and to welcome the young lady to the Rectory, and not only her, but Rawdon Crawley, her husband's rival in the Old Maid's five per cents! They became very fond of each other's society, Mrs. Crawley and her nephew. He gave up hunting; he declined entertainments at Fuddleston: he would not dine with the mess of the depot at Mudbury: his great pleasure was to stroll over to Crawley parsonage—whither Miss Crawley came ...
— Vanity Fair • William Makepeace Thackeray

... theater, care and pain and poverty were banished from the memory, while Oldfield's face spoke, and her tongue flashed melodies; the lawyer forgot his quillets; the polemic, the mote in his brother's eye; the old maid, her grudge against the two sexes; the old man, his gray hairs and his lost hours. And can it be, that all this which should have been immortal, is quite—quite lost, is as though it had never been?" he sighed. "Can it be that its fame is now sustained by me; ...
— Peg Woffington • Charles Reade

... picturesque, impossible creatures that only exist in the imagination of poets and school girls. You are now twenty-four years old, Antoinette, and if you don't soon become more reasonable, you will die an old maid." ...
— The Worlds Greatest Books - Vol. II: Fiction • Arthur Mee, J. A. Hammerton, Eds.

... say," I answer. "I do not know. I am not old, but I am not sure that I would not rather marry him than be an old maid." ...
— Nancy - A Novel • Rhoda Broughton

... Joan. I had an old maid English teacher when I was a boy who made us conjugate to like instead of the more intimate and tender word. Poor old soul! I hope it saved her ...
— The Flockmaster of Poison Creek • George W. Ogden

... any one ever deserved the fate of an old maid, you do. But I want you to understand one thing. I have not given up my point about that will. According to your express commands, I have made no movement in the affair, but nem. con. I shall present the case at the present term of the Orphan's Court as a fraud. I have waited long enough ...
— May Brooke • Anna H. Dorsey

... plates a full minute without speaking. Their expectations had matured. At last they were to come into something in return for nothing. Aunt Lispeth, who had latterly lived at Ipswich in a house which he had just not built for her, was an old maid. They had often discussed what she would leave them—though in no mean or grasping spirit, for they did not grudge the 'poor old girl' her few remaining years, however they might feel that she was long past enjoying herself. The chance would come to them some ...
— Tatterdemalion • John Galsworthy

... that my friend was wrong, and that women of late years had made great strides in Germany. I met single women who had careers and homes of their own and were quite cheerful. When you are old enough to look back twenty or thirty years, and remember the blight there used to be on the "old maid," and the narrow gossiping life she was driven to lead, you must admit that these contented bachelor women have done a good deal to emancipate themselves. In England they have been with us for a long time, but formerly I had not come across them in Germany. On the contrary, I well remember my ...
— Home Life in Germany • Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick

... in mind the typical old maid with gimlet ringlets! So we sat and rocked and laughed, for I was equally surprised to meet a person so "different" from my romantic ideal. Like the two Irishmen, who chancing to meet were each mistaken in the identity of the other. As one of them put it, "We looked at each other and, ...
— Memories and Anecdotes • Kate Sanborn

... rocking-chairs on stands, upholstered in clashing colours, their coiled springs only half hidden by tassels, and "ornamental" electric fixtures, instead of the polished coal-oil lamps. Cousin Jenny had grown white, Willie was a staid bachelor, Helen an old maid, while Mary had married a tall, anaemic young man with glasses, Walter Kinley, whom Cousin Robert had taken into the store. As I contemplated the Brecks odd questions suggested themselves: did honesty and warm-heartedness necessarily accompany a lack of artistic taste? and ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... had no intention of doing. Clutching the old maid's wig in its hands, it leaped away in bounds and joined its brother on the ...
— The Ocean Wireless Boys And The Naval Code • John Henry Goldfrap, AKA Captain Wilbur Lawton

... drawing-room, that he fatuously believed she loved him. And she of course, when he asked her to be his wife, hid her face on his shoulder, and said she could not understand why he could love her. Why, she was quite an old maid! Amy and Gwen were ever so much prettier than she, and she was sure that both Gwen and Amy, even though they were now both married, would feel jealous when they knew that big, handsome Jack Harrington had asked her ...
— In The Far North - 1901 • Louis Becke

... Hauptmann remains almost unknown; even the Nobel Prize did not give him a vogue. Run the roll: Maeterlinck and his languishing supernaturalism, Tagore and his Asiatic wind music, Selma Lagerloef and her old maid's mooniness, Bernstein, Molnar and company and their out-worn tricks—but I pile up no more names. Consider one fact: the civilization that kissed Maeterlinck on both cheeks, and Tagore perhaps even more intimately, has yet to ...
— A Book of Prefaces • H. L. Mencken

... just because she is the only woman you have seen on the frontier. She is doubtless as ugly as an old maid." ...
— Buffalo Bill's Spy Trailer - The Stranger in Camp • Colonel Prentiss Ingraham

... was frightened at Aunt Deborah's black eyes, thought he would rather marry Aunt Dorcas. Why the two sisters didn't toss up for him I can't think; but he did marry Aunt Dorcas, and Aunt Deborah has been an old maid ever since. Sometimes even now she fixes her eyes on Cousin John, and then takes them off with a great sigh. It seems ridiculous in an old lady, but I don't know that it is so. That's the reason my cousin can do what he likes ...
— Kate Coventry - An Autobiography • G. J. Whyte-Melville

... that Joe, like most men, was as full of gossip and as eager for it as a convalescent old maid, and that, whoever might have been the first at his house to make the break for bed, he was the last to leave off talking. But the chief reason for my laugh was that, just before he came in on me, I was almost pinching myself to see whether I was dreaming it all, ...
— The Deluge • David Graham Phillips

... I do think it sounds so much more respectful to call 'em so rather than "old maid" (but I had to tutor Josiah dretful sharp before I could get him ...
— Samantha Among the Brethren, Complete • Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)

... are so foolish," said the Old Maid; "they run after what glitters, and do not see the gold until it is too late. At first they are all ...
— Tea-table Talk • Jerome K. Jerome

... Carefully over the creaking boards, Old Maid Dorothy goes a-groping Among its dusty and cobwebbed hoards; Seeking some bundle of patches, hid Far under the eaves, or bunch of sage, Or satchel hung on its nail, amid The ...
— The World's Best Poetry, Volume 3 - Sorrow and Consolation • Various

... measles and whooping cough, for then Mary would have been in her element. Yet nature is a thing of inconsistencies, and through some strange, unaccountable caprice, Mary's marital instincts stopped with this fostering instinct. In every other respect she was an old maid. Men she abhorred. Like Jennie Wren, she knew their tricks and their manners—or thought she did—which for all practical purposes amounted to the same thing. Had it been necessary for her to prove some of the theorems she advanced concerning ...
— The Wall Between • Sara Ware Bassett

... charming human being. This young woman had real firmness of character to back up her free and independent judgments. He smiled at the idea of any facile passion in the composition of so sure and gallant a personality. Martineau was very fine-minded in many respects, but he was an old maid; and like all old maids he saw man and woman in every encounter. But passion was a thing men and women fell back upon when they had nothing else in common. When they thought in the pleasantest harmony and every remark seemed to weave a fresh ...
— The Secret Places of the Heart • H. G. Wells

... then, regarding her as a stall-reader regards the brilliant book he cannot afford to buy. 'But one gets weary of repining about that. I wish Picotee and yourself could see us oftener; I am as confirmed a bachelor now as Faith is an old maid. I wonder if—should the event you contemplate occur—you and he will ever visit us, or ...
— The Hand of Ethelberta • Thomas Hardy

... was quite a small house—forty pounds a year perhaps, and Miss Belford was a more attractive person than I expected to find. I don't know why, but I had expected to see a typical old maid; instead of which I was met by a young woman who had considerable claims to beauty. She opened the door herself, her maid being out, and was astonished when I said the Vicar of ...
— The Master Detective - Being Some Further Investigations of Christopher Quarles • Percy James Brebner

... and authentic story of Bettina," concluded my narrator. "You may see Bettina any day at Ettlingen, a yellow old maid forty years of age. Every Sunday she goes to mass at Durlach, where she employs the rest of the day in tending flowers on a grave, the first grave in the line to the ...
— Lippincott's Magazine. Vol. XII, No. 33. December, 1873. • Various

... at need, have explained this free-and-easy demeanor. The old maid wore a merino gown of a dark plum color, of which the cut and trimming dated from the year of the Restoration; a little worked collar, worth perhaps three francs; and a common straw hat with blue satin ribbons edged with straw plait, such as the old-clothes ...
— Cousin Betty • Honore de Balzac

... lieutenant at the Academy and his fiance were seen by an old maid at the hotel to kiss each other. At the first opportunity she reproved the fair damsel for, to her, such unmaidenly conduct. With righteous indignation she repelled the reproof ...
— Henry Ossian Flipper, The Colored Cadet at West Point • Henry Ossian Flipper

... when, at a loss for a vindication, you reproach me with being an old maid! Cousin, it does not distress me, either to be an old maid, or to be called one. I must, however, remark, that the manhood that can charge against a woman her single state, either as a matter of ridicule or reproach, is not quite up ...
— Sanders' Union Fourth Reader • Charles W. Sanders

... sight, 'nd Lem Thompson (who stood in with Dock in all his deviltry) leant over Dock while he wuz wallerin' 'nd pertendin' to foam at the mouth, and Lem cried out: "Nothink will fetch him out'n this turn but a drink uv brandy." Sue, who wuz as kind-hearted a' old maid as ever super'ntended a strawbeiry festival, whipped a bottle out'n her bag 'nd says: "Here you be, Lem, but don't let him swaller the bottle." Folks bothered Sue a heap 'bout this joke till she moved down into Texas to ...
— A Little Book of Profitable Tales • Eugene Field

... I don't care to marry, though I appreciate your good wishes. I am an old maid from principle. I am an officer ...
— Cast Upon the Breakers • Horatio Alger

... whirring in among the dense evergreens. I told you we should see pigeons soon, but you thought it too early. We will have sport to-morrow, if it is warm. For the present, let us see whether Hans' old fowling-piece is still safe from rust. Here it stands behind his bed-room door, dressed up like an old maid for a sailing party, all in flannels. There, Peter, is a true 'stubb-and-twist,' and the locks, although rather out of fashion, are still as elastic as ever. This Hans himself will use to-morrow; for it is an old friend and might feel hurt ...
— The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, May 1844 - Volume 23, Number 5 • Various

... whole course of Henrietta's illness he sent to enquire after his grandchild every hour. Clementina and an old maid-servant took it in turns to watch by her bedside. It was strictly forbidden to leave Henrietta alone for an instant, and Mr. Demetrius gave special orders that her brother Koloman was not to be ...
— The Poor Plutocrats • Maurus Jokai

... one, whose fear vanished at once, order the father and mother about, run hither and thither, assume the management of everything, apply the leeches, arrange the cataplasms, and bring back hope, joy and health at the double quick. In all branches of the family the old maid appeared thus providentially, without warning, on days of sorrow, ennui and suffering. She was never seen except when her hands were needed to heal, her devoted friendship to console. She was, so to speak, an impersonal creature, because of her great heart; a woman who did not ...
— Germinie Lacerteux • Edmond and Jules de Goncourt

... out to be true, did this conjecture of the hostess. He had dined "quietly" that night at Lady Nottingham's, and had played "old maid" afterwards, as bridge was universally voted to be far too intellectual. And Daisy took huge pleasure in such facts as these, stealthily conveyed to her by one if not more of her innumerable girl friends. For though ...
— Daisy's Aunt • E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson

... man ought to be, and that I am the most fortunate young woman in the world. Only isn't it odd that I should always have to live all my life in the same house, and never change my name,—just like a man, or an old maid? But I don't mind that because I do love him so dearly and because he is so good. I hope he will write to you and tell you that he likes me. He has written to Mr. Wharton, I know. I was sitting by him and his ...
— The Prime Minister • Anthony Trollope

... to encourage; but miscarried of the main end, by treating them according to the rules of art which had been prescribed me. Altilis, an old maid, infused into me so much haughtiness and reserve, that some of my lovers withdrew themselves from my frown, and returned no more; others were driven away, by the demands of settlement which the widow Trapland directed me to make; ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson - Volume IV [The Rambler and The Adventurer] • Samuel Johnson

... cultivation, as the wild radish, which is troublesome in parts of New England; the wild carrot, which infests the fields in eastern New York; and the live-forever, which thrives and multiplies under the plow and harrow. In my section an annoying weed is abutilon, or velvet-leaf, also called "old maid," which has fallen from the grace of the garden and followed the plow afield. It will manage to mature its seeds if not allowed to ...
— The Writings of John Burroughs • John Burroughs

... door-keeper cleans my rooms and keeps my linen in order. My private life is sad, dull, and humiliating. It is the black chrysalis of the bright butterfly which you know. That is what Prince Panine is, my dear Jeanne. A gentleman of good appearance, who lives as carefully as an old maid. The world sees him elegant and happy, and its envies his luxury; but this luxury is as deluding as watch-chains made of pinchbeck. You understand now that I cannot seriously ask you ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... youth. Now all had fled; none excepting Sandoz ever came. Gagniere had even left Paris, to settle down in one of the two houses he owned at Melun, where he lived frugally upon the proceeds of the other one, after suddenly marrying, to every one's surprise, an old maid, his music mistress, who played Wagner to him of an evening. As for Mahoudeau, he alleged work as an excuse for not coming, and indeed he was beginning to earn some money, thanks to a bronze manufacturer, who employed him to touch up his models. Matters were different ...
— His Masterpiece • Emile Zola

... the next one didn't crack, I couldn't take it. By human standards, a robot is insane to begin with. If I followed this up, I'd end up as an old maid with a twisted ...
— Unwise Child • Gordon Randall Garrett

... boarding-school, at which I spent the next four years. Schools were not then what they are now, particularly in Scotland, and between the time spent there and the holidays with Miss Clark, who was a stern, old maid and a confirmed invalid, my life was very dreary; I was becoming harder, and harder. I did not know in fact that I had any feelings; they were not cultivated amongst the people who had to do with me. She, also, died before ...
— Fifty-Two Stories For Girls • Various

... name she frowned slightly; then a gleam of ridicule flitted into her eyes. "Oh, that silly, squeamish old maid! How sick I got ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... have been so long ago; yet now they are beyond a bashful man's comprehension," said Bertie, with an air of simplicity, slightly scanning Miss Opie's wakeful face. He had got on so well with the mamma, who was this old maid, who appeared so objectionably on ...
— Bluebell - A Novel • Mrs. George Croft Huddleston

... McFinney's downstairs to see you about that sewing you said she could do for you," said Hannah, putting her head in at the door. Mamma was sitting close to the bed playing a game of Old Maid with Teddy. ...
— The Counterpane Fairy • Katharine Pyle

... being, in the light of these exhibitions, the theme of tongues and subject to the great imputation. It had never in life occurred to her withal that a succession of lovers, or just even a repetition of experiments, may have anything to say to a young lady's delicacy. She felt herself a born old maid and never dreamed of a lover of her own—he would have been dreadfully in her way; but she dreamed of love as something in its nature essentially refined. All the same she discriminated; it did lead to something after all, and she desired that for Francie it shouldn't lead to a union with Mr. ...
— The Reverberator • Henry James

... isn't found every day, and she can hold a man and holding a man is about as tough a job as the Almighty ever set a woman. I've got a pearl necklace and a ring in the bank. Harriet has always wanted them but what is the use of a born old maid decking herself out? I always knew Harriet and Susan would be old maids. Why, they would never let their doll-babies be seen without all their clothes on, seemed to think there was something indecent about cotton cloth legs stuffed with sawdust. ...
— The Butterfly House • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... a town by besiegers taken, Nor cared he who were winning; But he saw an old maid, for years forsaken, Get up and leave her spinning; 80 And she looked in her glass, and to one that did pass, She said—"pray are the ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Vol. 7. - Poetry • George Gordon Byron

... agonising sense of responsibility. But do you not see that you must thank Heaven for the sufferer's sake also? I will not shock you again by talking of amputation; but even in the smallest matter—even if you were merely sending medicine to an old maid—suppose that your imagination were preoccupied by the thought of her old age, her sufferings, her disappointed hopes, her regretful dream of bygone youth, and beauty, and love, and all the tender fancies which might well spring out of such a mournful spectacle, would you not be but too likely ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume I • Charles Kingsley

... cluster of white marble relics of the past on the bosom of dusky Pisa. It reminded me," said momma, poetically, "of an old maid's pearls." ...
— A Voyage of Consolation - (being in the nature of a sequel to the experiences of 'An - American girl in London') • Sara Jeannette Duncan

... goodness! just think of a man being out fifteen nights a week! Well, I'm glad that I'm an old maid. ...
— The New Pun Book • Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey

... English old maid we saw last week," I interrupted, "who doubled just once instead of splitting. I can see the drop of the jaw now. Even without the false teeth, it would ...
— Riviera Towns • Herbert Adams Gibbons

... the gossip of this village mostly consists of projected reproaches. Liz Ramsay, an old maid and the super-gossip of Tarbonny, came into the schoolhouse ...
— A Dominie in Doubt • A. S. Neill

... old maid? Aunt Agnes said you were. Did you do it on purpose, or couldn't you help yourself? I am not going to be an old maid. I am engaged now. Billy tried to be engaged, too, but ...
— Eve to the Rescue • Ethel Hueston

... honour at his villa in Vallanza. Cannon had been fired in the morning: two-and-twenty salvoes, if you please, though Susanna had protested that this was false heraldry, and that it advertised her, into the bargain, for an old maid. In the afternoon there had been a regatta. Seven tiny sailing-boats, monotypes,—the entire fleet, indeed, of the Reale Yacht Club d'Ilaria—had described a triangle in the bay, with Vallanza, Presa, and Veno as its points; and I need n't tell anyone who knows the island of Sampaolo ...
— The Lady Paramount • Henry Harland

... so belonged to the generation when a married woman was necessarily on a different and higher level than an "old maid," that though she knew her sister in many ways to be a fool, she yet bowed to the unassailable superiority of the widow. She really did feel that the useless legs of her widowed sister were more worthy of consideration than her own unwedded limbs as ...
— The Privet Hedge • J. E. Buckrose

... go down to Toll-house an' git acquainted with your neighbors," he drawled half maliciously. "There's a girl in the bunch that's sure easy to look at. Other one is an old maid—looks too much like a schoolma'm to suit me. But say—I'm liable to make a trip up here twice a week, from now on! I'm liable to eat my dinner 'fore I git here, too. Some class to that girl, now, believe me! Only trouble is, I'm kinda afraid one of ...
— The Lookout Man • B. M. Bower

... instinct to everything that was not rustic, felt in her narrow soul a kind of hatred for the ecstatic declarations of the old maid. She had found a phrase by which to describe her, a term of contempt that rose to her lips, called forth by I know not what confused and mysterious mental ratiocination. She said: 'That woman is a demoniac.' ...
— Maupassant Original Short Stories (180), Complete • Guy de Maupassant

... prebend, content to preach with might and main in the little church, to be called during the day to bless the beans, and at night to assist the dying, to cultivate the vine with his own hands; content with everything, in fine; even with his servant, an ugly old maid of about forty, at whose discretion he ate, drank, and dressed himself most resignedly, without exchanging more than a dozen words with her throughout ...
— Stories by Foreign Authors: Italian • Various

... charming little meal before going to bed. She often took him on her knees and covered him with kisses, murmuring in his ear with passionate tenderness. She called him: "My little flower, my cherub, my adored angel, my divine jewel." He softly accepted her caresses, concealing his head on the old maid's shoulder. Although he was now nearly fifteen years old, he had remained small and weak, and had a rather ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume VIII. • Guy de Maupassant

... sister, an old maid of forty-five, who takes every opportunity of declaring that she never intends to marry, and sighs every tine M. Dupont looks at her, is next to M. Moutonnet. The old clerk of the laceman—M. Bidois—who waits for Madame Moutonnet's permission ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXIX. - March, 1843, Vol. LIII. • Various

... Weldon was in the parlor with Jane and Esther looking at the flowers and telling them about her new beau, how handsome he was, and that she intended to marry him if he asked her, winding up her conversation on the subject of beaux with the remark that she was bound not to die an old maid, but was going to get married for she wanted to have a house of her own to keep. And so the conversation ran on between the three girls in the parlor until dinner was nearly ready, when Mrs. Hicks, Maud's aunt, called her and she ...
— The Haunted House - A True Ghost Story • Walter Hubbell

... bright summer afternoon; and for a wonder I was suffered to remain from school, although I received numerous charges to keep my tongue still, and was again reminded of that excellent old proverb (the composition of some old maid, I know), "Children should be seen and not heard;" so, seated in a corner, my hand pressed closely over my mouth, the better to guard against contingencies, I looked on and thought, with ineffable satisfaction, how ...
— Homestead on the Hillside • Mary Jane Holmes

... not something holy in this simplicity, which had been preserved to them by abstinence from all the joys of life? Ah! accursed be he who first had the had courage to attach ridicule to that name of "old maid," which recalls so many images of grievous deception, of dreariness, and of abandonment! Accursed be he who can find a subject for sarcasm in involuntary misfortune, and who can crown gray hairs ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... is nothing to what she means to do, or even to what she has done, for she put herself in close communication with the dressmaker three months ago, and prepared a wardrobe (with some articles worked by her own hands) fit for a Princess. People may call her an old maid, and so she may be, but she is neither cross nor ugly for all that; on the contrary, she is very cheerful and pleasant-looking, and very kind and tender-hearted: which is no matter of surprise except to those who yield to popular prejudices without thinking why, and will never grow wiser ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... simple taste, ever rare at Paris, was the happy portion of the genius of this Frenchman. Hence he delighted to try his farcical pieces, for we cannot imagine that they were his more elevated comedies, on his old maid-servant. This maid, probably, had a keen relish for comic humour, for once when Moliere read to her the comedy of another writer as his own, she soon detected the trick, declaring that it could not be her master's. Hence, too, our poet invited even children ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... lose the half," added the wise old crow, and then he flew up into his old pine tree and cawed away right merrily. And after that the little rabbit hopped along and when he came to the Post Office, he went up to the little stamp window and asked the old maid grasshopper, who was the postmistress, you remember—but if you don't, she was, just the same, for Bobbie Redvest told me so—if there were any letters. But there was only the Rabbitville Gazette done up in a pink ...
— Little Jack Rabbit and the Squirrel Brothers • David Cory

... the conduct of my sex a little regulated in this particular, which is the thing in which, of all the parts of life, I think at this time we suffer most in; 'tis nothing but lack of courage, the fear of not being married at all, and of that frightful state of life called an old maid, of which I have a story to tell by itself. This, I say, is the woman's snare; but would the ladies once but get above that fear and manage rightly, they would more certainly avoid it by standing their ground, in a case so absolutely necessary to their felicity, that by exposing themselves ...
— The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c. • Daniel Defoe

... at last, bravely. "You wouldn't want Prue to stick around and be an old maid, would you? I think she's mighty lucky to get a fellow as nice as Jerry Harmer myself. I'll bet you don't make out half as well, Fairy. I think she'd be awfully silly not to gobble him right up while she has a chance. For ...
— Prudence Says So • Ethel Hueston

... hours his aching limbs were glued to a straight-backed chair. There, in parlor state, he sat listening to the prim old maid's reading religious works, or some scientific lecture, or a dreary ...
— Andy the Acrobat • Peter T. Harkness

... sixteen, had an occasional dose of stage fever, and would stammer desperately between convulsive sobs that she wasn't half as much afraid of "the terrible temptations of the life" as she was afraid of dying a poky old maid in Weston. In short, the home was crowded, the Pagets were poor, and every one of the seven possessed a spirited and distinct entity. All the mother's effort could not keep them always contented. Growing ambitions made the Weston horizon seem narrow and mean, and the young eyes that could not ...
— Mother • Kathleen Norris

... with a desire to prove that a novel may be produced without any love; but even in this attempt it breaks down before the conclusion. In order that I might be strong in my purpose, I took for my heroine a very unattractive old maid, who was overwhelmed with money troubles; but even she was in love before the end of the book, and made a romantic marriage with an old man. There is in this story an attack upon charitable bazaars, made with a violence which will, I think, convince ...
— Autobiography of Anthony Trollope • Anthony Trollope

... followed by games and other interesting amusements, all of which Winnie enjoyed immensely; and then Aunt Judith inquired if she would like to see an old maid's den. "Nellie has never as yet been privileged to cross its threshold," she finished laughingly, "so it will be something new for both of ...
— Aunt Judith - The Story of a Loving Life • Grace Beaumont

... bull-dog, and a bullfinch, and an ermine, All private favourites of Don Juan;—for (Let deeper sages the true cause determine) He had a kind of inclination, or Weakness, for what most people deem mere vermin, Live animals: an old maid of threescore For cats and birds more penchant ne'er display'd, Although he was not old, ...
— Don Juan • Lord Byron

... the plot! And what about the characters? Rebecca is merely a hysterical old maid, who would have been set right, in the time of the Tudors, with a sound ducking; and nowadays, had she consulted a fashionable physician, she would have been probably ordered a sea-voyage, and a diet free from stimulants. The Pastor is a feeble, ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100. March 14, 1891. • Various

... friend. "That's the sort that does these things, isn't it? Would you expect her to turn into an old maid?" ...
— Five Nights • Victoria Cross

... She's still an old maid, Though she would not have been Could she have mar-ri-ed any kind of man. But she could not. So to the Humane She came, and caus-ed a ...
— Mary Cary - "Frequently Martha" • Kate Langley Bosher

... enough to think of such things. And really she can very well afford to wait, and will too, take my word. Living down in an out-step place like this, I am sure she ought to be very thankful that you took notice of her. She'd most likely have died an old maid if ...
— A Pair of Blue Eyes • Thomas Hardy

... shame, really, to ask that question," laughed Mr. Farnum, turning to his companions. "Benson was all but born aboard a boat, and he's a genuine old maid for having things aboard in apple-pie order. His two friends are just like ...
— The Submarine Boys' Trial Trip - "Making Good" as Young Experts • Victor G. Durham

... and lead a life of loneliness; since human nature makes us dependent on the opinion of others in a way that is completely out of proportion to its value. While, if the woman does not consent, she runs the risk of being compelled to marry a man she dislikes, or of shrivelling up into an old maid; for the time allotted to her to find a home is very short. In view of this side of the institution of monogamy, Thomasius's profoundly learned treatise, de Concubinatu, is well worth reading, for it shows that, among all nations, and in all ages, down to the Lutheran ...
— Essays of Schopenhauer • Arthur Schopenhauer

... region is a desert of stones, a solitude with a character of its own, an arid spot, which could only be inhabited by beings who had either attained to absolute nullity, or were gifted with some abnormal strength of soul. The house in question had always been occupied by abbes, and it belonged to an old maid named Mademoiselle Gamard. Though the property had been bought from the national domain under the Reign of Terror by the father of Mademoiselle Gamard, no one objected under the Restoration to the old maid's ...
— The Vicar of Tours • Honore de Balzac

... be confessed, was very like the gathering of the distant relatives the night before the funeral of the rich old maid of the family. Lawrence's jokes were either not heard or were received with sad-eyed contortions of the face that were less like a smile than the premonition of a sneeze. The strain was so great that as they were having their coffee a sudden ...
— L. P. M. - The End of the Great War • J. Stewart Barney

... was very white and, somehow, old-looking, Aunt Sophy's face was as benign as always. "Now, look here, Julia, my girl. That isn't love, and you know it. I'm an old maid, but I know what love is when I see it. I'm ashamed of you, Julia. Sensible woman like you, hugging and kissing a boy like that, and old ...
— One Basket • Edna Ferber

... and concentrated on her father. Watching him during dinner, he seemed to her suddenly to have become older; there was a glow in her heart as she thought that at last he really needed her. After all, if through life she were destined to be an old maid—and that, in the tragic moment of her youth that was now upon her, seemed her inevitable destiny—here was some one for whom at last ...
— The Cathedral • Hugh Walpole

... gentle, or as kind as girls were in her grandmother's day? No wonder indeed that grandmothers are all married—for one could hardly imagine the young men of that day overlooking such paragons of virtue and propriety as lived in their grandmothers' days. Fancy an old maid grandmother with all those qualities of mind and heart that girls had in their ...
— A Certain Rich Man • William Allen White

... curious sight in that wonderful old garden. Down the sandy path under the overhanging blossoms came Jane and Zura, skipping and bowing in time to the game's demands. The last line brought them to us. Hand in hand they stopped, Zura dishevelled, Jane's hat looking as if it grew out of her ear, but old maid and young were ...
— The House of the Misty Star - A Romance of Youth and Hope and Love in Old Japan • Fannie Caldwell Macaulay

... places out of the kingdom." Consequently, bands of six or eight hundred or a thousand men overrun the districts of Toulouse and Castelsarrasin. All proprietors, aristocrats, and patriots are put under contribution. Here, in the house of "the philanthropic but fanatical old maid, they break open everything, destroy the furniture, taking away eighty-two bushels of wheat and sixteen hogsheads of wine." Elsewhere, at Roqueferriere, feudal title-deeds are burnt, and a chateau is pillaged. Farther on, at Lasserre, thirty thousand francs are ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 2 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 1 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... Mabel," said Dolly. "You'll see her when we go back to town for I'm going to have you come and visit me if you will. She's an old maid, and she's terribly proper, and if ever I start to have any fun she thinks it must be wicked, and tries to make me stop. But I fool her—you just bet ...
— The Camp Fire Girls on the Farm - Or, Bessie King's New Chum • Jane L. Stewart

... glanced over the letter inclosed under your cover. Did you read it? It is from a lady, not quite an old maid, but nearly one, she says; no signature or date; a queer, but good-natured production, it made me half cry, half laugh. I am sure Shirley has been exciting enough for her, and too exciting. I cannot well reply to the letter since it bears no address, ...
— Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle • Clement K. Shorter

... when first they felt the titillation of love, the budding passions, and the first dear object of their wishes! how unexperienced they gave credit to all the tales of romantic loves! Dear George, were not the playing fields at Eton food for all manner of flights? No old maid's gown, though it had been tormented into all the fashions from King James to King George, ever underwent so many transformations as those poor plains have in my idea. At first I was contented with tending a visionary flock, and sighing some pastoral name to the echo of the cascade under ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole - Volume I • Horace Walpole

... JOHN. Ah—and they old maid flies do sting but once, but 'tis a terrible big bump as they do raise on the flesh ...
— Six Plays • Florence Henrietta Darwin

... godchild, and I am an old maid, with no business fretting over children, but it seemed as if the medium of light and beauty had been taken from me. Through this crystal soul I had perceived whatever was loveliest. However, what was, was! I returned to my home and ...
— The Shape of Fear • Elia W. Peattie

... rather like to be an old maid, if she could begin right off, and have a little cottage out of town somewhere, or some cosy rooms in the city. At least, she supposed that was what she had got to be, and if that were settled, she did not see why it might not be begun ...
— Real Folks • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... on, and even held his parish for several years, he was never fit for any severe study or labor. The last three years of his life were spent in the old farm-house at North Tolland, where his aunt Myra, a spare, sinewy, capable old maid, was keeping house for his father. Mrs. Arden had died soon after her son's illness began; her heart was "kind of broken," the neighbors said, ...
— A Little Country Girl • Susan Coolidge

... until she had performed her rite. And her letter was M. Jennifer brought a Worcester Pearmain, and threw a T. And Jessica chose a Curlytail and made a perfect O. And Jane, who preferred a Russet, threw her own initial, and Martin said seriously, "You're to be an old maid, Jane." (And Joscelyn looked at him.) And Jane replied, "I don't see that at all. There are lots of lots of J's, Martin." (And Joscelyn looked at her.) Then Martin turned inquiringly to Joscelyn, and she said, "I don't want one." "No stories ...
— Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard • Eleanor Farjeon

... a man asked me to go buggy-riding," she said, "that I've forgotten how to behave. I'm getting to be a regular old maid, Jim." ...
— We Can't Have Everything • Rupert Hughes

... garden-party. You remember, dear, how happy we were when we were together at Mr. Atherton's? I was very miserable when they took me away. Miss Benshaw happened to call the next day and she noticed it. 'My dear,' she said (Miss Benshaw is quite an elderly lady now), 'I am an old maid, who has missed the happiness of her life, through not having had a friend to guide and advise her when she was young. Are you suffering as I once suffered?' She spoke so nicely—and I was so wretched—that I really couldn't help it. I ...
— Little Novels • Wilkie Collins

... without girls' society, and she can never become either eccentric or foolish," Mr. Adiesen said hurriedly; but all the same he suddenly had a vision of his pet growing up to be peculiar, and an old maid perhaps resembling Aunt Osla, or some other of the many spinster ladies whose insular life had doomed them to ...
— Viking Boys • Jessie Margaret Edmondston Saxby

... from Verona to Venice, and of her naive exclamations of delight on finding herself in a real gondola, gliding smoothly down the Grand Canal. My sister Anne is by some years my senior. She is what might be called an old lady now, and she certainly was an old maid then, and had long accepted her position as such. Then, as now, she habitually wore a gray alpaca gown, a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles, gloves a couple of sizes too large for her, and a shapeless, broad-leaved straw hat, from ...
— Stories By English Authors: Italy • Various

... Warden don't own Jim Lefingwell's ranch a-tall; that some eastern guys bought it, an' that Warden's just managin' it. Seems like they's a woman at the Lefingwell's old place, keepin' Warden company. She's eastern, too, they say. Got a old maid with her to keep her company—a chapper-own, they say—which ain't in no ways illuminatin' my think-tank none. Which ...
— The Trail Horde • Charles Alden Seltzer

... and the night was longer than they had ever known a night to be, for it was late before they slept. It was well that Miss Verbena Martin could not overhear their talk, which was unchivalrous and unfriendly in the extreme. The general opinion seemed to be that old maid improvers would better stay at home where they might possibly be welcome, and that when the Happy Family wanted improving they would let her know. Cal Emmett said that he wouldn't mind, if they had only sent a young, pretty one. Happy Jack prophesied plenty of trouble, and boasted ...
— The Happy Family • Bertha Muzzy Bower



Words linked to "Old maid" :   Catharanthus, loser, herbaceous plant, cards, Zinnia acerosa, genus Zinnia, unmarried woman, herb, little golden zinnia, genus Catharanthus, also-ran, flower, white zinnia, Zinnia grandiflora, card game



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