from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The state or condition of an old maid; spinsterhood.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Five years older than the oldest of the other New Bedford girls and desperate for a man, Biddy had the coy predatoriness of one already treading the perilous line of old-maidhood that would drive away even the slightest expression of masculine interest.
It was clear enough that Alan didn't like her either, but because she was Candi's friend he'd felt obligated to be nice to her, nice to poor Bea, who was heading toward old-maidhood, or whatever they called it now-she'd seen it in his stupid eyes.
But they were mostly letters from cranks ... or from girls very, very young and sentimental, or on the verge of old-maidhood, who were casting about for some escape from the narrow daily life that environed them ....
All through the kaleidoscopic transformation-scenes of the "season", through which she moved magnificently, old-maidhood notwithstanding, she was unconsciously seeking him.
I am a woman, and as I do not think that I shall ever marry, I refuse to be chaperoned all the way to old-maidhood.
No, I am talking of the girl you loved who was not only really grown up and too old for you, but grown up almost into old-maidhood, and too old perhaps for anyone.
(I didn't let my eyes twinkle, or my face do that weird thing, "break into a smile"; but Jack Morrison told me that Miss MacDonald had "set her cap at the great Somerled," and torn it off and stamped on it in rage because -- this is Jack's slang -- Sir S. "wasn't taking any.") -- "Having failed to bring off a match or two, has settled down into old-maidhood.