It's an old-fashioned word now, but a handmaiden was once a servant who worked for a wealthy family. You might feel like a handmaiden when your parents tell you to scrub every bathroom in the house.

Long ago, a handmaiden (also called a handmaid) often served as the personal servant or maid to the lady of the house. You're much more likely to encounter this word in a book or movie these days, since someone employed in a home is more likely to be called an assistant, a housekeeper, or a cleaner. The term handmaiden comes from the sense of being "close at hand."

Definitions of handmaiden
  1. noun
    a personal maid or female attendant
    synonyms: handmaid
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    type of:
    amah, housemaid, maid, maidservant
    a female domestic
  2. noun
    in a subordinate position
    “theology should be the handmaiden of ethics”
    synonyms: handmaid, servant
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    type of:
    subordinateness, subsidiarity
    secondary importance
Word Family