Word Confusion: Made versus Maid

Posted August 22, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Just because made and maid are homophones (and more specifically, heterographs), is no excuse for using them incorrectly.

While made can be an adjective, or more rarely a noun, it primarily functions as a verb whereas maid is all noun.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Made Maid
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com


“Peach and blueberry pie before baking” by Adam Sharron [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing like a homemade pie!

Pastel on parchment of a carrying a tray with a glass of water and cocoa

“The Chocolate Girl” by Jean-Étienne Liotard is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The maid bringing in the morning chocolate.

Part of Grammar:
Past tense or past participle of make

Adjective; Noun;
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: makes
Gerund or present participle: making

Plural: maids
[Usually in combination] Made or formed in a particular place or by a particular process

Artificially produced

Invented or made-up

To tell made stories about oneself

Prepared, especially from several ingredients

Assured of success or fortune

The manufacturer or trade name of a particular product

  • The structure or composition of something
  • The making of electrical contact

Verb, intransitive:
Go or prepare to go in a particular direction

  • [With infinitive] Act as if one is about to perform an action
    [Of the tide) Begin to flow or ebb

Verb, transitive:
Form something by putting parts together or combining substances

  • Construct
  • Create
  • [Make something into] Alter something so that it forms or constitutes (something else)
  • Compose, prepare, or draw up (something written or abstract)
  • Prepare (a dish, drink, or meal) for consumption
  • Arrange bedclothes tidily on (a bed) ready for use
  • Arrange and light materials for (a fire)
  • [Electronics] Complete or close (a circuit)

Cause (something) to exist or come about

  • Bring about
  • Cause to become or seem
  • Carry out, perform, or produce (a specified action, movement, or sound)
  • Communicate or express (an idea, request, or requirement)
  • [Chiefly archaic] Enter into a contract of (marriage)
  • Appoint or designate (someone) to a position
  • Represent or cause to appear in a specified way
  • Cause or ensure the success or advancement of

Compel (someone) to do something


  • Amount to:
  • Serve as or become through development or adaptation
  • Consider to be
  • Estimate as
  • Agree or decide on (a specified arrangement), typically one concerning a time or place

Gain or earn (money or profit)

Arrive at (a place) within a specified time or in time for (a train or other transport)

  • [Make it] Succeed in something
  • Become successful
  • Achieve a place in
  • Achieve the rank of

[North American; informal] Induce (someone) to have sexual intercourse with one

[In bridge, whist, and similar games] Win (a trick)

  • Win a trick with (a card)
  • Win the number of tricks that fulfills (a contract)
  • Shuffle (a pack of cards) for dealing
A female domestic servant.

  • [Archaic or literary] A girl or young woman, especially an unmarried one
  • [Archaic or literary] A virgin

[In combination] Young woman who attends the bride at a wedding ceremony

Nikons and Canons are Japanese-made cameras.

Handmade chocolates are the best with all that real chocolate and butter.

He’s a made man.

She always made up stories about herself.

It was a pre-made dish.

The whole is quickly formed by joining together ready-made parts.

Verb, intransitive:
He struggled to his feet and made toward the car.

She made as if to leave the room.

Verb, transitive:
My grandmother made a dress for me.

The body is made from four pieces of maple.

Baseball bats are made of ash.

Buffalo’s milk can be made into cheese.

She made her will.

She made lunch for Lucy and Francis.

I made us both a cup of tea.

Have you kids made your beds yet?

Drew made great fires.

The drips had made a pool on the floor.

He made his critics laugh.

Unger made a speech of forty minutes.

We made a deal.

Pete made heavy demands on his people.

Gianni made him an offer he can’t refuse.

It was a marriage made in heaven.

He was made a colonel in the Mexican army.

The sale price and extended warranty made it an excellent value.

The Excursion is the work which really made Wordsworth’s reputation.

She bought me a brandy and made me drink it.

They made an unusual duo.

Ferns made good houseplants.

When the police asked, Sherree made it to be some sixteen cars.

We made a date for 7:30.

He’d made a lot of money out of hardware.

They hadn’t made it on time.

With this single, the band had made it.

They made it to the semifinals.

He made it to the semifinals.

Yeah, I made it with Ellie last night.

Jane made the trick.

Yay, partner, we made trump.

She is but a maid.

The maid should be in soon.

The butler hired a housemaid this morning.

The parlour maid will answer the door.

She had seven bridesmaids at her wedding.

I need to hire a maid to keep the house clean.

I love that the maids leave chocolates on our pillows.

It is such a cliché, having the husband sleep with the maid.

Helene said she and her husband like to play the naughty maid-and-the-butler in the bedroom.

Ask the maid if she’s seen it.

Adjective: half-made, undermade Adjective: maidish
Noun: maidishness, submaid, undermaid
Phrasal Verb
make after
make away
make away with
make for
be made for
make something of
makes little of
make nothing of
make off
make off with
make out
make someone out
make something out
make it out to
make out to be
make something over
make up
make someone up
make something up
make it up to
make with
History of the Word:
Old English macian, from a base meaning fitting. Middle English abbreviation of maiden.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Pinterest Photo Credits

“Works Progress Administration maid poster” by the WPA (1939) is in the public domain, as a work of a Works Progress Administration employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties, and as a work of the U.S. federal government (17 U.S.C. §§101 and 105), via Wikimedia Commons.