Entries linking to chambermaid
c. 1200, "a room in a house," usually a private one, from Old French chambre "room, chamber, apartment" (11c.), from Late Latin camera "a chamber, room" (see camera).
The Old French word and the Middle English one also were used alone and in combinations to form words for "latrine, privy" from the notion of "bedroom utensil for containing urine." In anatomy, "enclosed space in a body," from late 14c. Of machinery, "artificial cavity," from 1769.
The gunnery sense of "part of the bore in which the charge is placed" is from 1620s. The meaning "legislative body" is from c. 1400, an extended sense from the chambers or rooms where an assembly meets. Chamber music (1765) traditionally was that meant to be performed in smaller spaces.
DA CAMERA: of the chamber, i. e. belonging to the chamber, suitable for the chamber, designed for the chamber,—a term applied to parlor or chamber music. [Godfrey Weber's General Music Teacher," Boston, 1842]
c. 1200 (late 12c. in place names and surnames), "an unmarried woman (usually young); the Virgin Mary;" shortening of maiden (n.). Like that word, used in Middle English of unmarried men as well as women (as in maiden-man, c. 1200, which was used of both sexes, reflecting also the generic use of man).
From c. 1300 as "a virgin," also as "maidservant, female attendant, lady in waiting." By c. 1500 this had yielded the humbler sense of "female servant or attendant charged with domestic duties." Often with a qualifying word (housemaid, chambermaid, etc.); maid of all work "female servant who performs general housework" is by 1790.
Her Mamma was a famous Fryer of Fishes,
Squeezer of Mops, Washer of Dishes,
From tossing of Pancakes would not Shirk,
In English plain, a Maid of all Work.
But don't mistake me, by Divinity,
When I mention Maid, I don't mean Virginity
[from "Countess of Fame and her Trumpeter," 1793]
In reference to Joan of Arc, attested from 1540s (French la Pucelle). Maid Marian, the Queen of the May in the morris dances, also one of Robin Hood's companions, is recorded by 1520s, perhaps from French, where Robin et Marian have been stock names for country lovers since 13c. Maid of Honor (1580s) originally was "unmarried lady of noble birth who attends a queen or princess;" meaning "principal bridesmaid" is attested from 1895. Maydelond (translating Latin terra feminarum) was "the land of the Amazons."
updated on October 30, 2017