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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maid is also a shortened form of "maiden", an archaic word for an unmarried woman or a virgin.
MAID is also a acronym of Massive array of idle disks
Maid is also a Bosniac Name
Smedley maid illustration 1906

A maidservant or in current usage maid is a female employed in domestic service.



Once part of an elaborate hierarchy in great houses, today a single maid may be the only domestic worker that upper and even middle-income households can afford, as was always the case for many households. In the Western world, comparatively few households can afford live-in domestic help, usually compromising on periodic cleaners. In less developed nations, very large differences in the income of urban and rural households and between different socio-economic classes, fewer educated women and limited opportunities for working women ensures a labour source for domestic work.

Maids perform typical domestic chores such as cooking, ironing, washing, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, walking the family dog, and taking care of children. In many places in some poor countries, maids often take on the role of a nurse in taking care of the elderly and people with disabilities. Many maids are required by their employers to wear a uniform.

Types of maid

Maids traditionally have a fixed position in the hierarchy of the large households, and although there is overlap between definitions (dependent on the size of the household) the positions themselves would typically be rigidly adhered to. The usual types of maid are:

  • Head house parlour-maid (alternatively known as head housemaid or head parlour-maid); answerable to the housekeeper or butler.
  • House parlour-maids (or simply housemaid), or under house parlour-maid, if there is only one; answerable to the head house parlour-maid or in the case of an under house parlour-maid, to the house parlour-maid.
  • Chambermaids (also known as housemaids) — a chambermaid is a maid who specifically cleans and cares for bedrooms, and is a more common term in hotels rather than riching
  • Nursery maid — specifically for looking after children; generally answerable to the nanny.
  • Kitchen maid; answerable to the cook.
  • Between maid — a potentially difficult rôle picking up miscellaneous jobs and (problematically) answerable to the housekeeper, butler, and cook.
  • Scullery maid (also known as the cinder maid); answerable to the cook.
  • Lady's maid — outside of the normal hierarchy, the lady's maid was a senior servant who reported directly to the lady of the house.

However, in many households a single Maid-of-all-work or skivvy was all the staff there was. In several developing countries, working as a maid is still one of the main possibilities a poor young girl may have to earn an income.

In popular culture

One of the most in-depth and enduring representations of the lives of several levels of maid was seen in the 1970s television drama (set in 1900s–1930s Britain), Upstairs, Downstairs.

See also

Maid cleaning the fireplace

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