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

Leading up to her wedding, Lady Edith (the former spinster and one of Mary’s sisters) is surprised at The Ritz by Bertie Pelham, who had previously broken her heart. Washington Post, "Did you lose Downton Abbey in the British fog? Catch up here," 10 Sep. 2019 One-eyed Marshal Cogburn helps a Bible-toting spinster find the men who killed her preacher father. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 Joan Bennett, Frances Dee and Jean Parker played her on-screen sisters, while Edna May Oliver, a character actress known for portraying spinsters, played the family’s wealthy Aunt March. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, "A handy guide to (almost) all of the ‘Little Women’ adaptations," 13 Aug. 2019 The book features Lolly, a fortysomething spinster who longs for autonomy and a deeper connection to nature. Longreads, "Demonology: A Woman’s Right to Fury," 10 June 2019 Comedian Arte Johnson — best known for playing the dirty old man opposite Ruth Buzzi’s purse-hurling spinster on Laugh-In — is dead. Lynette Rice, EW.com, "Laugh-In star Arte Johnson dies at 90," 3 July 2019 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

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

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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