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See also: bride's maid


A wedding party including three bridesmaids, ca. 1936

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From bride +‎ -s- +‎ maid. Sports/entertainment sense: in reference to the saying always a bridesmaid, never a bride.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbɹaɪdzˌmeɪd/
  • (file)


bridesmaid (plural bridesmaids)

  1. A woman who attends a bride during her wedding ceremony, as part of the main wedding party.
    I'd love to be your bridesmaid at the wedding.
    • 1994, Richard Curtis, Four Weddings and a Funeral, spoken by Lydia (Sophie Thompson):
      I was promised sex. Everybody said it. You'll be a bridesmaid, you'll get sex, you'll be fighting 'em off. But not so much as a tongue in sight.
  2. (sports, entertainment, social dynamics) A person or team that perennially finishes well, but never first.
    • 2023, Eleanor Catton, Birnam Wood, page 319:
      He had taken her for a dogsbody, a beta fish, a bridesmaid, a ride-along; he had looked right past her, as likely many people did.

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bridesmaid (third-person singular simple present bridesmaids, present participle bridesmaiding, simple past and past participle bridesmaided)

  1. To act as a bridesmaid for; to attend a bride during her wedding ceremony.
    • 1858, Anthony Trollope, Doctor Thorne[1], volume 1, page 83:
      "No, Trichy; I won't be Augusta's bridesmaid; I'll bide my time for bridesmaiding."
    • 1915, George Jean Nathan, Henry Louis Mencken, The smart set: a magazine of cleverness, volume 45, page 204:
      And what's this? that isn't Herbie Frost with you in the canoe ; why he was best man when I bridesmaided Corinne.
    • 1989, Kevin Killian, Shy[2], page 233:
      "It's in my Data-fax, right here! December Bride: and I'm supposed to bridesmaid!"
    • 2007, Siri Agrell, Bad Bridesmaid: True Tales of Bachelorette Brawls and Taffeta Tantrums[3], page 150:
      After ten years of friendship and just six months of lackluster bridesmaiding, the women did not even get an invitation to the wedding.
    • 2010, Mark Townsend, Jesus Outside the Box: Twelve Spiritual Tales of the Unexpected[4], page 308:
      Still they bridesmaided for her.