spinster

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

Examples of spinster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The interchangeability of the smaller supporting characters enhances this sense of social fluidity — at any moment, someone else can turn into the impoverished talkative spinster, Miss Bates, or Mr. Woodhouse, Emma’s hypochondriacal father. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "'Emma' at Lifeline Theatre: Jane Austen's matchmaking story is played for warmth and laughs," 6 June 2019 In 1908 the still-Victorian Marion Gilchrist, an 82-year-old Glaswegian spinster, was going about her daily routine, solitary and secure in her padlocked flat. Alexandra Mullen, WSJ, "‘Conan Doyle for the Defense’ Review: The Case of the Innocent Man," 26 July 2018 With most occupations in the Middle Ages restricted to members of male-only guilds, widows and spinsters could rely on ale-making to support themselves. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "When Women Were Brewers," 4 Oct. 2018 So, were her parents being welcoming out of relief that their daughter wouldn’t become a spinster or out of surprise that she, as her friends pointed out, had got lucky? Weike Wang, The New Yorker, "Omakase," 6 June 2018 On December 21st 1908 Marion Gilchrist, a wealthy spinster, was bludgeoned to death with a blunt instrument. The Economist, "When Arthur Conan Doyle cried “J’Accuse…!”," 7 July 2018 The show not only features a spinster schoolteacher but also plenty of personalities including an inept detective, a stingy restaurant owner, a spoiled niece and a doting cowboy suitor. Jessi Virtusio, Daily Southtown, "Audience assists in solving ‘Touchtone 'M' for Murder’ mystery in Orland Park," 6 July 2018 Or, perhaps more radically, the spinster sanctuary. Ashley Fetters, Curbed, "Living alone and liking it," 20 June 2018 Single mothers, elegant divorcées, spinster aunts, bored housewives, daughters, wilting violets … all in anxious anticipation as to whether the shoe will fit, fit them alone, that the prince from the fairy tale is meant for them. New York Times, "My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me," 15 June 2018

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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Statistics for spinster

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for spinster

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

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More Definitions for spinster

spinster

noun

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

spinster

noun
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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More from Merriam-Webster on spinster

Spanish Central: Translation of spinster

Nglish: Translation of spinster for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spinster for Arabic Speakers

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