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Milkmaid and dairy cattle in Mangskog, Sweden, 1911.

A milkmaid (or milk maid) was a girl or woman who milked cows.[citation needed] She also used the milk to prepare dairy products such as cream, butter, and cheese. Many large houses employed milkmaids instead of having other staff do the work, the term milkmaid is not the female equivalent of milkman [citation needed] in the sense of one who delivers milk to the consumer; it is the female equivalent of milkman in the sense of cowman.[citation needed]

"As smooth as a milk maid's skin"[edit]

A Danish milk maid with shoulder yoke

The expression "as smooth as a milk maid's skin" means exceptionally smooth, this phrase came about as a result of exposure to cowpox, which causes no serious symptoms, but does convey a partial immunity to the disfiguring (and often fatal) disease smallpox. Thus, milkmaids lacked the "pockmarked" complexion common to smallpox survivors, this observation led to the development of the first vaccine.[1]

Cultural references[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stern, Alexandra Minna; Howard Markel (2005). "The History Of Vaccines And Immunization: Familiar Patterns, New Challenges" (PDF). Health Affairs. 24 (3): 611–621. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.24.3.611. PMID 15886151. Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  2. ^ The Associated Press (November 26, 2012). "'12 days of Christmas' cost: How much is a partridge in a pear tree?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 

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