spin·​ster | \ ˈspin(t)-stər How to pronounce spinster (audio) \

Definition of spinster

1 : a woman whose occupation is to spin
2a archaic : an unmarried woman of gentle family
b : an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying
3 : a woman who seems unlikely to marry

Other Words from spinster

spinsterhood \ ˈspin(t)-​stər-​ˌhu̇d How to pronounce spinster (audio) \ noun
spinsterish \ ˈspin(t)-​st(ə-​)rish How to pronounce spinster (audio) \ adjective
spinsterly adjective

Examples of spinster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Never mind that the luminous Johnson will be nobody’s idea of a spinster outshone by her narcissistic sisters. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 July 2022 Charles’ new wife, a veritable spinster at the ripe old age of 11, was young but at least age-appropriate. Anne Thériault, Longreads, 21 June 2022 Wentworth, now a wealthy captain, returns to find Anne unmarried—practically a spinster at 27 years old. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 June 2022 Bette Davis plays the titular Southern spinster in this twisted 1964 psychological thriller directed by Robert Aldrich. Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 Judith Hearne is a Belfast spinster, the Irish equivalent of a Barbara Pym heroine. Alexander Mccall Smith, WSJ, 3 June 2022 The book met with many savage reviews, some the product of chemical industry machinations, and the agriculture secretary himself denounced Carson as a spinster and a Communist, but Silent Spring shone a spotlight on DDT like nothing before. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, 31 May 2022 For many years the archetype of the spinster aunt was a fixture in literature, like the irritable Aunt March in Little Women, Agatha Christie’s creaky, clever Miss Marple, Harry Potter’s vicious Aunt Marge. Glamour, 20 May 2022 At 28 years old, the clever and quick-witted Eloise Bridgerton is single and therefore, considered a spinster in London high society. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spinster.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of spinster

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About spinster

Time Traveler for spinster

Time Traveler

The first known use of spinster was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near spinster




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for spinster

Last Updated

11 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spinster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spinster. Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for spinster


spin·​ster | \ ˈspin-stər How to pronounce spinster (audio) \

Kids Definition of spinster

: an unmarried woman past the usual age for marrying


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!