Definitions

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

  • n. A woman bondservant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A female bondservant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A female slave, or one bound to service without wages, as distinguished from a hired servant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A female slave, or a female bound to service without wages.

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

  • n. a female slave
  • n. a female bound to serve without wages

Etymologies

bond(woman) + maid.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
bond +‎ maid (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And as a bondmaid steals away from a wealthy house, whom fate has lately severed from her native land, nor yet has she made trial of grievous toil, but still unschooled to misery and shrinking in terror from slavish tasks, goes about beneath the cruel hands of a mistress; even so the lovely maiden rushed forth from her home.

    The Argonautica

  • He asked them what women they were; and, little as the thing seems like to be, the bondmaid answered for the twain, telling of the fall of King Sigmund and King Eylimi, and many another great man, and who they were withal who had wrought the deed.

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • Then went the bondmaid home, and told Sigrun, and sang —

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • All this they bore to the ships of King Alf, and Hjordis and bondmaid went them.

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • Then the king asks if they wotted where the wealth of the king was bestowed; and then says the bondmaid — “It may well be deemed that we know full surely thereof.”

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • So Sigmund said he would come and meet them in battle, and drew his power together; but Hjordis was borne into the wood with a certain bondmaid, and mighty wealth went with them; and there she abode the while they fought.

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • From the publication of the first volume, Murray and his fellow editors had been collecting material for a supplement, painfully aware of omissions (bondmaid, collide, radium, appendicitis).

    Analyzing Becky Sharp’s Trash

  • And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.

    Probably Just One Of Those Funny Coincidences

  • For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

    Probably Just One Of Those Funny Coincidences

  • Winchester lovingly describes the nuts-and-bolts of dictionary making -- how unexpectedly tricky the dictionary entry for marzipan was, or how fraternity turned out so much longer and monkey so much more ancient that anticipated -- and how bondmaid was left out completely, its slips found lurking under a pile of books long after the B-volume had gone to press.

    The Meaning of Everything: Summary and book reviews of The Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester.

Comments

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  • the one and only word that was lost in compiling the original OED according to Simon Winchester in "The Meaning of Everything" and "The Professor and the Mad Man"

    January 13, 2009