a. An unmarried girl or woman.
b. A woman or girl who is a virgin.
2. A machine resembling the guillotine, used in Scotland in the 1500s and 1600s to behead criminals.
a. A racehorse that has never won a race.
b. See maiden over.
1. Of, relating to, or befitting a maiden.
2. Being an unmarried girl or woman: a maiden aunt.
3. Being a racehorse that has never won a race.
4. First or earliest: a maiden voyage; a maiden speech in the Senate.
[Middle English, from Old English mægden; see maghu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.