handmaiden

(redirected from handmaidens)
Also found in: Thesaurus.

hand·maid

 (hănd′mād′) also hand·maid·en (-mād′n)
n.
1. A woman attendant or servant.
2. often handmaiden Something that accompanies or is attendant on another: "the traditional notion that government was the handmaiden of business" (Doris Kearns Goodwin).

handmaiden

(ˈhændˌmeɪdən) or

handmaid

n
1. a person or thing that serves a useful but subordinate purpose: logic is the handmaid of philosophy.
2. archaic a female servant or attendant
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.handmaiden - in a subordinate position; "theology should be the handmaiden of ethics"; "the state cannot be a servant of the church"
subordinateness, subsidiarity - secondary importance
2.handmaiden - a personal maid or female attendant
housemaid, maid, maidservant, amah - a female domestic
References in classic literature ?
While all were, as has been said, observing him, suddenly from among the duennas and handmaidens the impudent and witty Altisidora lifted up her voice and said in pathetic tones:
Two fairies were they; the younger, it is true, was not Dame Fortune herself, but one of the waiting-maids of her handmaidens who carry about the lesser good things that she distributes; the other looked extremely gloomy--it was Care.
The widow, however, meets him with her handmaidens.
Occasionally she selects slaves from among them to replenish the ranks of her handmaidens.
The men were making merry with festivities and dances; some were bringing home a bride to her husband on a well-wheeled car, while the bridal-song swelled high, and the glow of blazing torches held by handmaidens rolled in waves afar.
The handmaidens of the establishment, in their best caps, then handed the trays, and the young ladies sipped and crumbled, and the bespoken coaches began to choke the street.
But by and by he heard a tremendous grunting and squealing, and then a sudden scampering, like that of small, hard hoofs over a marble floor, while the voices of the mistress and her four handmaidens were screaming all together, in tones of anger and derision.
Somehow, with the assistance of the beautiful Foulata, who, since we had been the means of saving her life, had constituted herself our handmaiden, and especially Good's, we managed to get off the chain shirts, which had certainly saved the lives of two of us that day.
Each of us, of course, was extremely anxious about the good appearance of the beloved object; and, though I was the one to glean compliments ashore, B- had the more intimate pride of feeling, resembling that of a devoted handmaiden.
Doctor, the good handmaiden became reconciled to her presence, and told her cronies at the Glen that Miss Cuthbert was a fine old lady and knew her place.
The domestics, after being carefully searched and disarmed, were confined in another part of the castle; and Rowena was refused even the comfort she might have derived from the attendance of her handmaiden Elgitha.
The girls rang rather timidly, and were admitted by a grim and ancient handmaiden.