comely maidens

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Incorrectly attributed to a speech by Irish statesman Éamon de Valera. A longer version is often misquoted as "comely maidens, dancing at the crossroads". The actual phrase, delivered in a radio broadcast on St. Patrick's Day 1943, mentions "the laughter of happy maidens, whose firesides would be forums for the wisdom of serene old age." See Wikipedia article.


comely maidens pl (plural only)

  1. (plural only, Ireland) An outdated stereotype of Irish women; used as a reference to misogynistic opinions.
    He was surprised to see so many women workers. What did he expect, comely maidens?