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

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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 Olivia Williams shows up as Lavinia Bidlow, a wealthy spinster with unclear motives. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 9 Apr. 2021 It’s a singular work charting the transformation of a spinster into her own woman — romantically, financially, psychologically. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 22 Feb. 2021 Miranda has a high-powered career as a lawyer but is constantly cast as a sexless spinster, a pseudo-lesbian. Consider the arcs of the four main characters. Default Friend, Washington Examiner, 21 Jan. 2021 Someone at Chevrolet decided that the failing Corvair could be repositioned as an ideal runabout for women: rear-engined and thus light-steering, gutless enough not to frighten a spinster, cute as a button in pastel colors. Bruce Mccall, The New Yorker, 12 Dec. 2020 Beneath the thick beard and mustache, Cowboy Bob was discovered by police to be Peggy Jo Tallas, a soft-spoken spinster from Garland who lived most of her life with her mother. Christopher Wynn, Dallas News, 26 May 2020 The spinster was replaced by the cocktail/wine-swigging singleton. Vicky Spratt, refinery29.com, 1 May 2020 This austere drama, set in a remote 19th century Danish village, culminates in the serving of the eponymous feast prepared by Stéphane Audran’s Babette, once a great Parisian chef, now housemaid to two spinster sisters. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 May 2020 One of the more legendary bits of direction in film history is John Huston telling Hepburn, who plays a missionary’s spinster sister, to channel Eleanor Roosevelt. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of spinster

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for spinster

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for spinster

Cite this Entry

“Spinster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spinster. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for spinster



English Language Learners Definition of spinster

old-fashioned + often disapproving : an unmarried woman who is past the usual age for marrying and is considered unlikely to marry


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

Kids Definition of spinster

: an unmarried woman past the usual age for marrying


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