A "maiden name" is the surname of a woman before she gets married. After marriage, a woman may change her surname to that of her husband, which becomes her married name. The term dates back to the 17th century.
The word maiden refers to an unmarried woman. It has its origins in Old English, dating to before the year 1000. The customs surrounding name changes and marriage vary around the world. In some countries women are expected to change their surname, or family name, to that of their husband's family because of traditional practice, while in other places women retain their maiden name.