Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A woman attendant or servant.
  • n. Something that accompanies or is attendant on another: "the traditional notion that government was the handmaiden of business” ( Doris Kearns Goodwin).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A maid that waits at hand; a female servant or attendant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A maid that waits at hand; a female servant or attendant.
  • n. Something or someone serving in a subordinate position.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A female servant or personal attendant; a female assistant: often used figuratively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. in a subordinate position
  • n. a personal maid or female attendant

Etymologies

hand +‎ maid (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For, as _the Psalm saith_, that "the eye of the handmaid looketh perpetually towards the mistress," and yet, _no doubt, many things are left to the discretion of the handmaid_, to discern of the

    The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded

  • Then she called her handmaid and said to her, ‘Go to Shajarat al-Durr and say to her, ‘Thy sister saluteth thee and biddeth thee to her; so favour her by coming to her this night, according to thy custom, for her breast is straitened. '

    Arabian nights. English

  • Then she called the handmaid Marjanah hight and said to her,

    Arabian nights. English

  • Richardson plays a "handmaid" - essentially a breeder in a world where most women are sterile - hired out to a privileged couple (Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall) to conceive their child.

    Bright Lights After Dark

  • Prince of True Believers, my handmaid is worth more than this: do but prove her, and her value will be magnified in thine eyes; for this slave-girl hath not her equal, and she were unfit to any but thou.’

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Now the tray-maker was fair of face and comely of form, and the wife of the master of the house saw him and fell in love with him and her heart inclined to him with exceeding inclination; so, her husband being absent, she called her handmaid and said to her, “Contrive to bring yonder man to us.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Then she called the handmaid Marjanah hight and said to her, As thou lovest me, do my errand this day and be not neglectful therein!

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • So she called a handmaid that was with her in her apartment by way of service, and said to her, Go to Ardashir, son of the Great King, and fear not.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • So she called a handmaid that was with her in her apartment by way of service, and said to her, "Go to Ardashir, son of the

    Arabian nights. English

  • Having thus laid bare the bases of belief, I draw the conclusion that Revelation has obedience for its sole object, therefore, in purpose no less than in foundation and method, stands entirely aloof from ordinary knowledge; each has its separate province, neither can be called the handmaid of the other.

    Theologico-Political Treatise

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