hand·​maid·​en | \ ˈhan(d)-ˌmā-dᵊn How to pronounce handmaiden (audio) \
variants: or less commonly handmaid \ ˈhan(d)-​ˌmād How to pronounce handmaiden (audio) \

Definition of handmaiden

1 : a personal maid or female servant
2 : something whose essential function is to serve or assist criticism is not the enemy of art but rather its handmaiden— Gary Michael

Synonyms for handmaiden


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Examples of handmaiden in a Sentence

the princess was intensely shy, and allowed only her handmaiden to enter her chambers
Recent Examples on the Web But this bit of craft wisdom—conflict is king—is the handmaiden of a paranoid anthropology, and a limited way of thinking about action and speech. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 Dashing across to meet him was Padmé Amidala, trailed by a handmaiden and one of Naboo’s security, a woman Obi-Wan recognized as Mariek Panaka. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 4 May 2022 Most people talk about the story that comes after, but I was told by a person who studies regional folklore in Japan that some placed traditionally believed the handmaiden was Amaterasu’s lover. Goldie Chan, Forbes, 3 May 2022 The upper level is faulted for admitting too much light and its inevitable handmaiden shadow; the lower for admitting too little. Anthony Paletta, WSJ, 14 Jan. 2022 Here comes Judith accompanied by her handmaiden, with the head of Holofernes in tow. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 20 Dec. 2021 So there’s plenty of evidence that caffeine was a kind of handmaiden to the Industrial Revolution. Andi Berlin, The Arizona Republic, 9 July 2021 This, of course, begs the question if Catherine really did have a handmaiden who helped her seize power. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, 5 Jan. 2021 This, of course, begs the question if Catherine really did have a handmaiden who helped her seize power. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, 5 Jan. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handmaiden.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of handmaiden

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of handmaiden was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near handmaiden



handmaid moth

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Statistics for handmaiden

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Handmaiden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handmaiden. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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