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maiden voyage

  • the first voyage of a ship after its acceptance by the owners from the builders.
  • nautical the first voyage of a vessel

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Word history and origins.

Origin of maiden voyage 1

Idioms and Phrases

Example sentences.

The RMS Queen Mary made her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City.

In fact, its maiden voyage on familiar trails netted a series of both uphill and downhill PRs.

People might be surprised that during that period “Maiden Voyage,” one of your most well-loved standards, began as a TV jingle.

To some passengers a maiden voyage was a pleasure cruise; to others it meant a hope for new life.

His maiden voyage as skipper of his own ship made that reputation for the man.

He had had his fair fraction in the form of a crowd of enthusiastic friends who came to see him off on his maiden voyage.

THE ship's company was of a character befitting the greatest of all vessels and worthy of the occasion of her maiden voyage.

He has made it a custom to be a passenger on the maiden voyage of every new ship built by the White Star Line.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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Meaning of maiden voyage in English

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  • break-journey
  • circumnavigation

Examples of maiden voyage

Translations of maiden voyage.

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definition of the term maiden voyage

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Definition of 'maiden voyage'

Maiden voyage in american english, maiden voyage in british english, examples of 'maiden voyage' in a sentence maiden voyage, trends of maiden voyage.

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maiden voyage

  • 1.1 Etymology
  • 1.2.1 Translations

English [ edit ]

Etymology [ edit ].

See maiden ( adjective ) .

Noun [ edit ]

maiden voyage ( plural maiden voyages )

  • 1998 , Cynthia Bass, Maiden Voyage ‎ [1] , Random House Publishing Group, →ISBN : For one thing, it was a maiden voyage , which always meant both passengers and staff were a little giddier, a little looser, than usual.

Translations [ edit ]

definition of the term maiden voyage

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  • What is a Maiden Voyage?

The Titanic famously sank on its maiden voyage.

The term maiden voyage refers to the first expedition made by a vessel after its performance has been tested. The term has also been used to mean a person’s first time doing something. Before a ship’s maiden voyage, a bottle of alcohol (usually champagne) is broken over the ship’s bow for good luck. The history associated with maiden voyages dates back to ancient times with ancient civilizations having special ceremonies to invoke their gods to protect them on long ocean voyages. The ancients brought shrines into their ships, and the tradition proceeded long into the Middle Ages. Most ships have successful maiden voyages; however, some have been tragic, with the most famous being the RMS Titanic.

Notable Maiden Voyages

The rms titanic.

The RMS Titanic was one of the world’s most famous ships not only because it was the largest ship at the time of its completion but also because it met a tragic end during its maiden voyage. The owners of the Titanic chose to forego the traditional elaborate ship launching ceremony. The ship’s maiden voyage began on April 10, 1912, under the command of Captain Edward Smith with about 2,224 people on board. Two days after the ship’s launch at around 11:40 pm the ship struck an iceberg on the starboard side which allowed water to get into the ship. The ship took around 2 hours and 40 minutes to completely sink with the death toll estimated at more than 1,500 people. Most of the deaths were due to the ship’s crew not being adequately prepared for such an event and the ship not having enough lifeboats.

Launched on June 10, 1875, the Mohawk was owned by William T. Garner and was the largest racing yacht of the time at 140 feet. The yacht’s doomed maiden voyage began on July 20, 1876, off Staten Island with the entire Garner family on board. A sudden violent gust of wind struck the yacht making it capsize. The accident had no survivor as everyone on board drowned. The yacht was later recovered and renamed the Eagre. The Eagre participated in a survey of the Nantucket Shoals led by Lieutenant E.M. Hughes.

The Vasa was constructed at the command of King Gustavus Adolphus as the flagship of the standby regiment. The ship was under the command of Captain Sofring Hansson who received the command to set sail on the ship’s maiden voyage on August 10, 1628, from Alvsnabben. After a journey of approximately 4,200 feet to Tegelviken, water began filling the ship from the open gun ports. A strong wind had filled the ship’s sails, and because it was unstable, it was unable to right itself when forced on the port side. Thirty people died in spite of all the efforts of ships nearby. The ship was salvaged in 1961 and is now a major tourist attraction.

Safety Standards on Present-day Vessels

To prevent a catastrophic loss of life on a transport vessel stringent safety requirements have been set up. All ships are required to have enough lifeboats for all the people on board and the crew expected to be trained on proper evacuation procedures. Transport vessels are only certified once they have proven to have met all the required safety measures.

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maiden voyage noun

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What does the noun maiden voyage mean?

There is one meaning in OED's entry for the noun maiden voyage . See ‘Meaning & use’ for definition, usage, and quotation evidence.

How common is the noun maiden voyage ?

Where does the noun maiden voyage come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the noun maiden voyage is in the 1820s.

OED's earliest evidence for maiden voyage is from 1823, in European Magazine .

maiden voyage is formed within English, by compounding.

Etymons: maiden n. & adj. , voyage n.

Nearby entries

  • maiden-servant, n. 1533–1740
  • maidenship, n. 1602–
  • maiden's honesty, n. 1691–
  • maiden-skate, n. a1795–
  • maidens' light, n. 1547–8
  • maidens' milk, n. ?c1450
  • maiden speech, n. 1702–
  • maiden's water, n. 1975–
  • maiden's wreath, n. 1893–
  • maiden-thought, n. 1818–
  • maiden voyage, n. 1823–
  • maiden-wax, n. 1726
  • maidenweed, n. a1325–1718
  • maiden-widowed, adj. 1599
  • maideux, int. c1450–1500
  • maid face, n. c1450
  • maid-faced, adj. 1610
  • maid-fish, n. 1665–1810
  • maidhead, n. a1393–1621
  • maidhood, n. a1200–
  • maidish, adj. 1822–

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Meaning & use

Entry history for maiden voyage, n..

Originally published as part of the entry for maiden, n. & adj.

maiden, n. & adj. was revised in June 2000.

oed.com is a living text, updated every three months. Modifications may include:

  • further revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations.

Earlier versions of this entry were published in:

OED First Edition (1904)

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OED Second Edition (1989)

  • View maiden, n. and a. in OED Second Edition

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Citation details

Factsheet for maiden voyage, n., browse entry.

CruiseHabit Logo - Cruising Tips - Live Broadcasts - Travel Insights - Cruise Videos

What Are Maiden and Inaugural Voyages?

Recently, Celebrity Cruises recently announced that the much-anticipated Celebrity Edge is ahead of schedule and will begin sailing earlier than expected.  While this is generally great news, there are some who may be less than thrilled, and this made us stop and wonder - what is a "maiden voyage?"

Celebrity Edge's pool deck, Magic Carpet to the right

Edge's Maiden Voyage Plans

In June of 2017 we shared that Celebrity Edge 's maiden voyage would be December 16, 2018 out of her home port of Port Everglades in Ft Lauderdale, FL.  She'll still be sailing that voyage, which is a seven night Eastern Caribbean sailing to San Juan , Tortola , and St Maarten.  The early completion however means that her first sailing (sort of, we'll get to that...) is now November 21st, 2018. 

“Thanks to the amazing work of the STX France shipyard team , the industry-changing Celebrity Edge is now scheduled to arrive much earlier than anticipated, which gave us the opportunity to offer not one, but two maiden voyages,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Both of these maiden voyages, plus the taste of luxury preview sailings, will have all of the festivities one would expect from the launch of such a revolutionary new ship, and now even more guests will have the chance to experience these one-of-a-kind inaugural sailings.”

What will Celebrity Edge be doing with that extra time?  Celebrity has added four sailings, three nights each, departing Fort Lauderdale on November 21, November 24, December 3, and December 6.  These sailings are a great way to try out the latest and greatest from Celebrity without committing to a full seven night sailing.  Want a new opportunity for a full seven night sailing?  In addition to the three-nighters, they've added an Western Caribbean seven night sailing out of Ft Lauderdale on December 9, 2018, heading to  Key West , Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Grand Cayman .

Who Might Not Love This?

Passengers with their heart set on sailing Edge's Maiden Voyage might not love this change, as they were booked on what they thought was the first sailing on December 16th, but that's now scheduled to be the sixth cruise for the new ship.  In these type of circumstances though, cruise lines generally give booked guests first crack at changing to a new and earlier sailing.  It brings up a good point though, and something I can't stress enough: They can be fun, but  don't get your heart set on maiden voyages.  Why?  Well, to start, let's take a cue from The Bard and ask, "what's in a name?"

Some will enjoy Edge's Infinite Verandah staterooms earlier than expected

A Sailing By Any Other Name

Often you'll hear two words used about new builds and many of us don't think about what they mean: maiden and inaugural.  What's the difference?  A maiden voyage generally refers to  a first  or  the first.   A ship leaving port with paying passengers for the first time is taking it's maiden voyage.  If that voyage is say, from France to the US, then it's also its maiden transatlantic voyage.  After that trip, perhaps it's going to St Lucia for its maiden Southern Caribbean voyage.  The next sailing, if to Mexico , would be its maiden Western Caribbean voyage.  Get the idea?

An inaugural voyage usually refers to the pomp and circumstance, the celebration of a new ship.  For this reason, a ship based out of South Florida may have a maiden voyage from Europe (where most US-based cruise lines have their ships built), and then an inaugural voyage out of South Florida.  In fact, her first voyage out of South Florida might not be her inaugural, as there might be some sailings for the media, travel agents, etc first.  

To add to this word soup of sailings, often you'll hear about an inaugural season - which could be the first season a ship sails the Caribbean, or the first year a ship sails in general.  

Better to Miss a Maiden Voyage than "Miss the Boat"

Yes, we know, it's a ship .  While Celebrity Edge has seen some changes to her maiden voyage, this is a great reason.  It's not uncommon at all for maiden voyages to be rescheduled because of delays.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a 100k+ gross ton ship.  AIDAprima, Oceania Riviera, and Disney Magic are just a few ships which saw delays resulting in the cancellation and changing of sailings, and many unhappy would-be guests, who we're sure cruise lines worked hard to please.  Sometimes the challenges are mechanical, other times they're related to weather, and in the case of the Riviera, a strike at the shipyard caused delays.  

Whatever the cause of delays, this is the other big reason we caution people about booking a maiden voyage.  It's not that we wouldn't do it ourselves, it's just important to keep in mind that things happen, and no matter how angry a guest gets, it won't get the ship completed at a different time.  It's also possible that maiden voyages may offer guests a sparkling new ship with some things still being worked on, like we saw with the Harmony of the Seas when she sailed in Europe with some construction being done before crossing the Atlantic in a more finished state.

Wrapping it Up

With any ship-building project, nevermind one as complex and innovative as Edge, an early completion is really impressive.  We get very excited about these things, and we hope you do too, but it's no secret that the more a cruise line can use the words "inaugural" and "maiden" the more excitement and urgency there will be about booking those sailings and the more shirts and other onboard merchandise that will be sold.  Because we want to prove that we're not bitter about the name game that is in play with new ships, you'll find CruiseHabit on a couple of these sailings, and certainly buying up a few " Celebrity Edge Inaugural Season" t-shirts, bags, commemorative ping-pong balls, and anything else we can find.  

DCL Fantasy Inaugural Shirt

Check the gallery below for more inaugural swag, some of which wasn't available to the public. 

Have you sailed on a ship's maiden voyage?  Do you have one booked?  Let us know in the comments below or reach out on Twitter or Facebook !

definition of the term maiden voyage

View the discussion thread.

definition of the term maiden voyage

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  • Travel Tips

What Does Maiden Voyage Mean

Published: December 14, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Valaria Schleicher

  • Travel Essentials & Accessories
  • Travel Guide



Have you ever wondered what the term “maiden voyage” means? It carries a sense of adventure, anticipation, and the thrill of embarking on a journey into the unknown. In the world of travel and exploration, the maiden voyage holds a special significance, symbolizing the beginning of a new chapter in history.

A maiden voyage refers to the inaugural journey of a newly built ship or an aircraft. It marks the first time that the vessel sets sail or takes to the skies with passengers on board. This momentous occasion is filled with excitement and often accompanied by various traditions and superstitions.

Throughout history, the concept of a maiden voyage has been intertwined with tales of bravery, exploration, and discovery. Some of the most famous voyages have gone down in legend, leaving an indelible mark on our collective consciousness.

Whether it is the Titanic setting off on its ill-fated maiden voyage or Christopher Columbus embarking on his expedition across the Atlantic, these journeys represent bold endeavors that have shaped the course of history.

Join us as we dive into the fascinating world of maiden voyages, exploring their historical significance, traditions and superstitions, famous examples, challenges and risks, and their modern interpretation in today’s travel industry.

Definition of Maiden Voyage

A maiden voyage is the first journey undertaken by a newly constructed ship or aircraft, marking its inaugural voyage with passengers or cargo. It is a significant event that symbolizes the culmination of years of planning, construction, and anticipation.

During a maiden voyage, the ship or aircraft sets sail or takes off for the very first time. It represents the moment when the vessel transitions from being a mere construction project to a fully functional mode of transportation. The maiden voyage is an exciting milestone for the shipbuilders, crew, and passengers alike.

Typically, maiden voyages are highly publicized, attracting attention from media outlets and travel enthusiasts. The event often includes ceremonies, christenings, and celebrations to commemorate the ship’s launch and draw attention to its unique features and capabilities.

The duration and destination of a maiden voyage can vary. Some may be short excursions designed to test the vessel’s systems and ensure its seaworthiness, while others may be longer journeys meant to showcase its capabilities or establish new trade routes.

The significance of a maiden voyage extends beyond the physical journey itself. It represents a new chapter in transportation history, marking advancements in technology, design, and innovation. It is a testament to human ingenuity and the spirit of exploration.

The maiden voyage is also an opportunity for shipbuilders, operators, and crew members to assess and refine the vessel’s performance, comfort, and safety features. It allows them to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement before the ship or aircraft goes into regular service.

Overall, a maiden voyage symbolizes the excitement of new beginnings, the thrill of adventure, and the hope for successful and prosperous journeys ahead.

Historical Significance

Maiden voyages hold great historical significance, as they mark pivotal moments in transportation history and have often been associated with pioneering achievements and exploration.

Throughout the ages, maiden voyages have been catalysts for groundbreaking discoveries, the establishment of new trade routes, and the expansion of empires. They have allowed civilizations to connect and exchange goods, ideas, and cultures.

One of the most famous historical maiden voyages is that of Christopher Columbus in 1492. His voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, seeking a shorter trade route to Asia, resulted in the discovery of the Americas, forever altering the course of world history.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the maiden voyages of steamships and ocean liners played a crucial role in the era of mass migration and trade expansion. These grand vessels transported millions of immigrants, goods, and materials across continents and oceans, facilitating the growth of nations and the globalization of economies.

The maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic in 1912 stands as a tragic testament to the historical significance of these voyages. Intended to be a symbol of luxury and innovation, the ill-fated ship’s sinking on its maiden voyage highlighted the dangers and risks associated with pushing the boundaries of technology and transportation.

Maiden voyages have also seen great advancements in aviation. The Wright brothers’ successful maiden flight in 1903 paved the way for the development of modern aircraft and commercial aviation. Subsequent maiden flights of jet-powered aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and Concorde marked significant milestones in aviation history and revolutionized air travel.

Throughout history, maiden voyages have captured the imagination of people around the world, symbolizing human ambition, exploration, and the pursuit of progress. They have expanded our understanding of the world, opened new frontiers, and left an indelible mark on our collective history.

Traditions and Superstitions

Maiden voyages are steeped in traditions and superstitions that have been passed down through generations. These rituals and beliefs aim to bring good luck, safe passage, and prosperous journeys to the newly launched vessel and its passengers.

One common tradition during a maiden voyage is the christening ceremony. This involves breaking a bottle of champagne or another beverage against the ship’s hull or airplane’s exterior. The shattering of the glass symbolizes good fortune and serves as a ceremonial blessing for the vessel and all who sail or fly on it.

Another well-known tradition is the hoisting of signal flags. Ships often raise a series of colorful flags to spell out messages or codes. This practice originated as a way to communicate with other vessels or shore stations before the invention of wireless communication. During a maiden voyage, hoisting special signal flags can signify the ship’s inaugural journey.

In addition to these ceremonies, various superstitions surround maiden voyages. Some sailors believe it is bad luck to begin a voyage on a Friday, a belief that dates back to the medieval era. This superstition led to the term “Freaky Friday” or “Black Friday” when referring to this supposedly ill-fated day.

Another common superstition is the tradition of placing a coin under the mast of a ship. It is believed that this act will bring good luck and a safe return to all aboard. It also symbolizes a payment to the gods or the mythical figures protecting the crew and passengers.

Additionally, some sailors and passengers believe in the “whispers of the sea” superstition, which suggests that speaking certain words or phrases on a ship may bring about bad luck or calamity. To avoid tempting fate, nautical terms like “drowning,” “shipwreck,” or “goodbye” are often avoided during a voyage.

Overall, these traditions and superstitions surrounding maiden voyages reflect the deep-rooted beliefs and reverence for the unpredictable and vast expanses of the sea and sky. They serve as a way to invoke protection, bring luck, and honor the rich history and traditions of the maritime and aviation industries.

Famous Maiden Voyages

Throughout history, there have been several maiden voyages that have captured the attention and imagination of the public. These journeys, whether successful or met with tragedy, have left an enduring legacy and become a part of our collective consciousness.

One of the most famous maiden voyages is undoubtedly that of the RMS Titanic. The White Star Line’s luxurious ocean liner embarked on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City in 1912. However, tragedy struck when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. This catastrophic event has since become one of the most well-known maritime disasters in history.

The maiden voyage of the Mayflower in 1620 is another renowned journey. The Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom, sailed from Plymouth, England, to the shores of present-day Massachusetts. This historic voyage marked the establishment of Plymouth Colony, which would later become one of the earliest successful English settlements in North America.

In the realm of aviation, the inaugural flight of the Wright brothers’ Flyer in 1903 is an iconic maiden voyage. This aircraft, designed and built by Orville and Wilbur Wright, made its historic 12-second flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This event marked the birth of powered human flight and laid the foundation for modern aviation.

Another significant maiden voyage is that of the Graf Zeppelin in 1928. This German airship embarked on its inaugural transatlantic voyage, completing a round trip from Friedrichshafen, Germany, to Lakehurst, New Jersey, in the United States. The success of the Graf Zeppelin demonstrated the possibility of long-distance air travel and paved the way for future advancements in airship technology.

In recent years, the maiden voyage of the RMS Queen Mary 2 stands out as a momentous event. The Cunard Line’s ocean liner, launched in 2004, embarked on its maiden transatlantic crossing from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This luxurious vessel has since become an iconic symbol of grand ocean travel and continues to captivate passengers with its elegance and opulence.

These famous maiden voyages have left a lasting impact on the maritime and aviation industries, shaping our understanding of travel, technology, and human endurance. They serve as reminders of the triumphs and tragedies that accompany pioneering journeys into the unknown.

Challenges and Risks

Maiden voyages are not without their challenges and risks, as they mark the first time a vessel sets sail or takes flight with passengers on board. These risks can range from technical difficulties to unpredictable weather conditions and everything in between.

One of the primary challenges faced during a maiden voyage is ensuring that the newly constructed vessel is fully prepared for its journey. Despite rigorous testing during the construction process, unforeseen technical issues may arise once the ship or aircraft is put into service. These issues can range from minor inconveniences to major malfunctions, potentially impacting the operation, comfort, and safety of the passengers.

In addition to technical challenges, maiden voyages are also subject to the whims of nature. Unpredictable weather conditions, such as storms, hurricanes, or heavy fog, can pose significant risks to the vessel and its passengers. Captains and crew members must carefully navigate these conditions, relying on their experience and navigational tools to ensure a safe passage.

Another potential risk during a maiden voyage is the lack of familiarity with the vessel’s systems and processes. Crew members may still be adjusting to their roles and responsibilities, and communication between different departments may require time to optimize. This can lead to delays or confusion in operations, requiring extra vigilance and coordination from the crew to mitigate potential risks.

Furthermore, the maiden voyage may also attract unwanted attention. Pirates, thieves, or saboteurs may see the inaugural journey as an opportunity to exploit the vessel’s vulnerability or valuable cargo. Enhanced security measures and precautions are necessary to ensure the safety and protection of the vessel, passengers, and crew.

Despite these challenges and risks, meticulous planning, thorough testing, and experienced crews help minimize potential issues that may arise during a maiden voyage. The lessons learned from previous voyages and technological advancements have significantly improved the safety and reliability of modern ships and aircraft, providing reassurance to those embarking on these historic journeys.

Modern Interpretations

In today’s fast-paced world, maiden voyages have taken on new meanings and interpretations, extending beyond the traditional launch of a ship or aircraft. Modern interpretations of maiden voyages encompass a wide range of industries and activities, reflecting the spirit of exploration, innovation, and new beginnings.

One prominent example of a modern interpretation of a maiden voyage is the launch of a new technology product or digital service. Just like a ship or aircraft, these products and services undergo extensive development and testing before being introduced to the market. The release of a new smartphone, for instance, can be seen as its maiden voyage, marking the beginning of a new era in communication and technology.

Similarly, the opening of a new restaurant, hotel, or resort can be considered a maiden voyage in the hospitality industry. It represents the culmination of design, construction, and training efforts, creating an opportunity to showcase innovative concepts, exquisite cuisine, and exceptional guest experiences. This maiden voyage sets the stage for the future success and reputation of the establishment.

In addition, the concept of a maiden voyage has also been embraced by the space exploration industry. The launch of a new spacecraft or satellite symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in our exploration of the cosmos. These missions push the boundaries of human knowledge and pave the way for further advancements in space research and travel.

Furthermore, individuals embarking on a significant life change or personal milestone can view it as their own maiden voyage. Starting a new job, relocating to a new city, or even getting married can be seen as a bold venture into uncharted territory. These personal “maiden voyages” offer the chance for growth, self-discovery, and the forging of new paths.

Through these modern interpretations, the concept of a maiden voyage continues to inspire and commemorate significant journeys, achievements, and innovations across a variety of industries. It embraces the spirit of adventure, risk-taking, and the pursuit of progress, reminding us of the boundless opportunities that await those who embark on new endeavors.

The concept of the maiden voyage holds a special place in the realm of travel and exploration. Whether it is a newly built ship, an aircraft, or a groundbreaking product, the maiden voyage symbolizes the beginning of an exciting journey into the unknown.

Throughout history, maiden voyages have played a significant role in shaping our world. They have facilitated trade, led to the discovery of new lands, and marked technological advancements. From the tragic tale of the Titanic to the pioneering flights of the Wright brothers, these voyages have left a lasting impact on our collective consciousness.

Traditions and superstitions have long been associated with maiden voyages, serving as a way to bring luck, protection, and good fortune. The challenges and risks faced during these journeys, including technical issues, unpredictable weather, and security threats, highlight the complexity and excitement that comes with venturing into new territories.

In the modern era, the interpretation of a maiden voyage has expanded to encompass various industries and personal milestones. From the launch of a new technology product or a restaurant to embarking on a new chapter in life, the spirit of the maiden voyage celebrates innovation, progress, and new beginnings.

As we reflect on the significance of maiden voyages, we are reminded of the human desire for exploration, the perseverance to overcome challenges, and the hope for a prosperous future. These voyages carry with them a sense of adventure, anticipation, and the potential to reshape our world.

So whether you find yourself embarking on your own personal maiden voyage or marveling at the inaugural journey of a newly constructed vessel, may the spirit of discovery and the thrill of the unknown guide you on your voyage of exploration and growth.


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Definition of maiden voyage noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

maiden voyage

  • The ‘Titanic’ sank in 1912 on its maiden voyage.

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Definition of maiden

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of maiden  (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of maiden in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maiden.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Noun and Adjective

Middle English, from Old English mægden, mǣden , diminutive of mægeth ; akin to Old High German magad maiden, Old Irish mug serf

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Phrases Containing maiden

  • iron maiden
  • maiden name
  • sea - maiden

Dictionary Entries Near maiden


Cite this Entry

“Maiden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maiden. Accessed 28 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of maiden.

Kids Definition of maiden  (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on maiden

Nglish: Translation of maiden for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maiden for Arabic Speakers

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  1. Maiden Voyage: What Does the Popular Idiom "Maiden Voyage" Mean? • 7ESL

    definition of the term maiden voyage

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  1. MAIDEN VOYAGE Definition & Meaning

    Maiden voyage definition: the first voyage of a ship after its acceptance by the owners from the builders.. See examples of MAIDEN VOYAGE used in a sentence.


    MAIDEN VOYAGE definition: 1. the first journey made by a ship or spacecraft: 2. the first journey made by a ship or…. Learn more.

  3. MAIDEN VOYAGE definition

    MAIDEN VOYAGE meaning: 1. the first journey made by a ship or spacecraft: 2. the first journey made by a ship or…. Learn more.

  4. Maiden Voyage: What Does the Popular Idiom "Maiden Voyage" Mean?

    Maiden Voyage Meaning. The phrase "maiden voyage" means the first trip out to sea, to the sky or over-the-road that is taken by a ship, aircraft or other moving vehicles for its specified purpose. It can also be used as a way to describe someone's first experience doing something. Origin of this idiom. The term "maiden" has been used ...

  5. Maiden voyage

    maiden voyage: 1 n the first voyage of its kind "in 1912 the ocean liner Titanic sank on its maiden voyage " Type of: ocean trip , voyage an act of traveling by water

  6. MAIDEN VOYAGE definition and meaning

    Nautical the first voyage of a vessel.... Click for English pronunciations, examples sentences, video.

  7. maiden voyage noun

    Definition of maiden voyage noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. ... The 'Titanic' sank in 1912 on its maiden voyage. Definitions on the go. Look up any word in the dictionary offline, ... Terms & Conditions; Accessibility; Legal Notice

  8. MAIDEN VOYAGE definition in American English

    Nautical the first voyage of a vessel.... Click for pronunciations, examples sentences, video.

  9. maiden voyage

    Definition of maiden voyage in English: cite. maiden voyage noun . The first voyage undertaken by a ship or a ship's passenger. Origin. early 19th century; earliest use found in The European Magazine.

  10. maiden voyage

    (nautical) The first trip of a vessel in its intended duty. The Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage. 1998, Cynthia Bass, Maiden Voyage‎[1], Random House Publishing Group, →ISBN: For one thing, it was a maiden voyage, which always meant both passengers and staff were a little giddier, a little looser, than usual

  11. What is a Maiden Voyage?

    The term maiden voyage refers to the first expedition made by a vessel after its performance has been tested. The term has also been used to mean a person's first time doing something. Before a ship's maiden voyage, a bottle of alcohol (usually champagne) is broken over the ship's bow for good luck. The history associated with maiden ...

  12. Maiden voyage

    Noun: 1. maiden voyage - the first voyage of its kind; "in 1912 the ocean liner Titanic sank on its maiden voyage"

  13. maiden flight/voyage

    • As Dole and Kemp headed across the country, the team of surrogates was making its maiden voyage in California. • The maiden flight of the A-12 had been scheduled for November 1991, with a view to the aircraft becoming operational in the mid-1990s. • With barely a week to go before the maiden flight, Paul's report made alarming reading.

  14. maiden voyage

    maiden voyage - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. All Free.

  15. maiden voyage, n. meanings, etymology and more

    There is one meaning in OED's entry for the noun maiden voyage. See 'Meaning & use' for definition, usage, and quotation evidence. See meaning & use. How common is the noun maiden voyage? About 0.1 occurrences per million words in modern written English . 1830: 0.0018: 1840: 0.0016: 1850: 0.0014: 1860: 0.0019: 1870: 0.0035: 1880: 0.0067: ...

  16. What Are Maiden and Inaugural Voyages?

    A maiden voyage generally refers to a first or the first. A ship leaving port with paying passengers for the first time is taking it's maiden voyage. If that voyage is say, from France to the US, then it's also its maiden transatlantic voyage. After that trip, perhaps it's going to St Lucia for its maiden Southern Caribbean voyage.

  17. What Does Maiden Voyage Mean

    A maiden voyage is the first journey undertaken by a newly constructed ship or aircraft, marking its inaugural voyage with passengers or cargo. It is a significant event that symbolizes the culmination of years of planning, construction, and anticipation. During a maiden voyage, the ship or aircraft sets sail or takes off for the very first time.

  18. voyage noun

    The ship completed her maiden voyage in May. There were mainly scientists on the voyage. Bering's voyage of discovery was one of many scientific expeditions in the 18th century. The ship began its return voyage to Europe. The ship was badly damaged during the voyage from Plymouth. They set off on their voyage around the world.

  19. maiden voyage noun

    Definition of maiden voyage noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more.

  20. Voyage Definition & Meaning

    How to use voyage in a sentence. an act or instance of traveling : journey; a course or period of traveling by other than land routes; an account of a journey especially by sea… See the full definition

  21. Maiden Voyage: Powerful Lessons From Our First Sailing Trip

    A maiden voyage, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a ship's very first adventure on open waters. It's a significant event, a baptism of sorts, marking the transition from a vessel being merely a vessel to becoming a seasoned sea traveler. For us, this maiden trip was more than just a nautical term. It represented the beginning of a ...

  22. MAIDEN VOYAGE in Thesaurus: 100+ Synonyms & Antonyms for MAIDEN VOYAGE

    first voyage of a vessel. first voyage of a boat. first voyage of a ship. initial travel. initiatory journey. opening travel. first travel. first cruise. first sail.

  23. Maiden Definition & Meaning

    maiden: [adjective] not married. virgin. never yet mated. never having borne young.