1. something that is necessarily subservient or subordinate to another: Ceremony is but the handmaid of worship.
  2. a female servant or attendant.


  1. a person or thing that serves a useful but subordinate purposelogic is the handmaid of philosophy
  2. archaic a female servant or attendant

late 14c., from hand (n.) in the sense in close at hand + maid. Cf. Old English hand├żegn “personal attendant.”

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