November 13, 2012

The Maid Made the Bed

Made is the past tense of make. I can make something in the future, I can be making it now, or, once it is finished, I can proudly say that I made it.

The word maid had old roots in the word maiden, which refers to a young, unmarried female. In the days when people lived in huge houses and had live-in domestic servants, the word maid took on a new meaning as the job title of the young, unmarried women who cleaned the house. An old maid is an older, unmarried woman. In both maid and old maid, the term usually refers to a woman who has never been married, rather than a widow or divorcee, and is presumed to still be a virgin. Yes, I know that often does not apply today, but language is not good at keeping up with the times. I’m discussing language here, not current sexual practices.

Today, the word maid usually refers to a person, male or female, who works at cleaning other people’s houses. They are typically not live-in, but work either for themselves or for an agency, and clean several homes in a day’s work.

Remember the difference between made and maid this way: Make and made both end in an “e”. At my house “I” am the maid…and both of those words have an “i” in them.