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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


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Maid is a word that is used to refer to a female servant, especially a housekeeper, but also to a "maiden" or young woman, as well as to a virgin or unmarried woman.

  • Maid of Athens, ere we part,
    Give, oh give me back my heart!
    • Lord Byron, in "Maid of Athens, Ere We Part" (1810)
  • Though friendships differ endless in degree,
    The sorts, methinks, may be reduced to three.
    Acquaintance many, and Conquaintance few,
    But for Inquaintance I know only two —
    The friend I've wept and the maid I woo.
  • If Love the Virgin's Heart invade,
    How, like a Moth, the simple Maid
    Still plays about the Flame!
    • John Gay, in The Beggar's Opera (1728), Air IV
  • Yonder a maid and her wight
    Come whispering by:
    War's annals will cloud into night
    Ere their story die.
    • Thomas Hardy, in "In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'" (1917)
  • Should ever the fine-eyed maid to me be kind;
    Ah! surely it must be whenever I find;
    Some flowery spot, sequestered, wild, romantic;
    That often must have seen a poet frantic.
    • John Keats, "To George Felton Matthew" (November 1815)
  • Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
    Do noble things, not dream them, all day long;
    And so make Life, and Death, and that For-Ever,
    One grand sweet song
  • The heart of a man to the heart of a maid —
    Light of my tents, be fleet —
    Morning awaits at the end of the world,
    And the world is all at our feet.
  • How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams with its illusions, aspirations, dreams! Book of Beginnings, Story without End, Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
  • Some times with secure delight
    The up-land Hamlets will invite,
    When the merry Bells ring round,
    And the jocund rebecks sound
    To many a youth, and many a maid,
    Dancing in the Chequer'd shade.
  • The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false feelings and reluctances, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will come together as human beings.
  • Men are April when they woo, December when they wed.
    Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
  • He that would woo a maid must feign, lie and flatter,
    But he that woos a widow must down with his britches and at her.
    • Nathaniel Smith (c. 1669), quoted in Thesaurus of Epigrams (1943) by Edmund Fuller
  • If you can kiss the mistress, never kiss the maid.
    • Anonymous proverb, collected in A Hand-book of Proverbs : Comprising an Entire Republication of Ray's Collection of English Proverbs, with His Additions from Foreign Languages (1899) by John Ray, further edited by Henry George Bohn, p. 420
  • "Where are you going, my pretty maid?"
    "I am going a-milking sir," she said.
    "May I go with you, my pretty maid?"
    "You are kindly welcome sir," she said.
    "What is your father, my pretty maid?"
    "My father's a farmer, sir," she said.
    "What is your fortune, my pretty maid?"
    "My face is my fortune, sir," she said.
    "Then I can't marry you, my pretty maid?"
    "Nobody asked you sir," she said.
    • Anonymous nursery rhyme among those attributed to Mother Goose in various collections, including The First Book of Song and Story‎ (1903) edited by Cynthia May Westover Alden and Beatrice Stevens

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up maid in Wiktionary, the free dictionary


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to maid article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



Middle English mayde, maide, abbreviation of maiden



maid (plural maids or maiden)

  1. (dated, poetic) A girl or an unmarried young woman.
    Note -- maid is often used in the common or species names of flowering plants.
  2. A female servant or cleaner.



See also


  • Anagrams of adim
  • amid

Northern Sami



  1. also, too




  1. milk

Simple English

The English Wiktionary has a dictionary definition (meanings of a word) for:

A maidservant or in current use maid is a female employed in domestic worker. 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.


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