- * * *The formal word for an unmarried woman literally means spinner, as the traditional occupation of such a woman. The -ster is the feminine equivalent of -er, preserved in the surnames Webster (female weaver) and Baxter (female baker).
The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.
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Spinster — Spin ster, n. [Spin + ster.] 1. A woman who spins, or whose occupation is to spin. [1913 Webster] She spake to spinster to spin it out. Piers Plowman. [1913 Webster] The spinsters and the knitters in the sun. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A man who… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
spinster — mid 14c., female spinner of thread, from M.E. spinnen (see SPIN (Cf. spin)) + stere, feminine suffix. Spinning commonly done by unmarried women, hence the word came to denote an unmarried woman in legal documents from 1600s to early 1900s, and by … Etymology dictionary
Spinster — (engl., »Spinnerin«), lediges Frauenzimmer, »alte Jungfer« … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
spinster — meaning an unmarried woman, has overtones that vary from disapproving to offensive, unlike bachelor which still tends to have positive and even romantic associations. Both words have been replaced by single [person] in the official wording of… … Modern English usage
spinster — ► NOUN chiefly derogatory ▪ an unmarried woman, typically an older woman beyond the usual age for marriage. DERIVATIVES spinsterhood noun spinsterish adjective. ORIGIN originally in the sense «woman who spins» … English terms dictionary
spinster — [spin′stər] n. [ME < spinnen, to SPIN + STER] 1. a woman who spins thread or yarn 2. a) a woman who is not married, divorced, or widowed (used esp. in legal documents) b) a middle aged or older woman who has never married spinsterhood n … English World dictionary
Spinster — Old maid redirects here. For other uses, see Old Maid (disambiguation). A poem entitled It won t be my fault if I die an Old Maid , containing the lines Remember no thought to a girl is so dread / As the terrible one I may die an Old Maid. A… … Wikipedia
spinster — UK [ˈspɪnstə(r)] / US [ˈspɪnstər] noun [countable] Word forms spinster : singular spinster plural spinsters old fashioned an insulting word for a woman who is not married and is past the age when women usually get married … English dictionary
spinster — noun Spinster is used before these nouns: ↑aunt … Collocations dictionary
spinster — spin|ster [ˈspınstə US ər] n old fashioned [Date: 1600 1700; Origin: spinster woman who spins (14 20 centuries), from spin] an unmarried woman, usually one who is no longer young and seems unlikely to marry … Dictionary of contemporary English
spinster — [[t]spɪ̱nstə(r)[/t]] spinsters N COUNT A spinster is a woman who has never been married, especially an old or middle aged woman. [OLD FASHIONED] … English dictionary