What does spinster mean?

Definitions for spinster
ˈspɪn stərspin·ster

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word spinster.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. spinster, old maidnoun

    an elderly unmarried woman

  2. spinner, spinster, thread makernoun

    someone who spins (who twists fibers into threads)


  1. spinsternoun

    A woman who has never been married, especially one past the normal marrying age according to social traditions.

  2. spinsternoun

    One who spins (puts a spin on) a political media story so as to give something a favorable or advantageous appearance; a spin doctor, spin merchant or spin master.

  3. spinsternoun

    Someone whose occupation was spinning thread.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Spinsternoun

    Etymology: from spin.

    The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
    And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
    Do use to chant it. William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

    One Michael Cassio,
    That never set a squadron in the field,
    Nor the division of a battle knows
    More than a spinster. William Shakespeare, Othello.

    I desire that a yearly annuity of twenty pounds shall be paid to Rebecca Dingley of the city of Dublin, spinster, during her life. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Spinster

    Spinster is a term referring to an unmarried woman who is older than what is perceived as the prime age range during which women usually marry. It can also indicate that a woman is considered unlikely to ever marry. The term originally denoted a woman whose occupation was to spin. A synonymous term is old maid. The closest equivalent term for males is "bachelor" or "confirmed bachelor", but this generally does not carry the same connotations in reference to age and perceived desirability in marriage.


  1. spinster

    A spinster is a term traditionally used to refer to an older woman who has never been married and does not have children. It can often carry a negative, stigmatizing connotation, suggesting that such a woman is alone because she chose to focus on her independence, career or chose to not follow conventional social norms. However, it's usage is considered outdated and potentially offensive in modern contexts.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Spinsternoun

    a woman who spins, or whose occupation is to spin

  2. Spinsternoun

    a man who spins

  3. Spinsternoun

    an unmarried or single woman; -- used in legal proceedings as a title, or addition to the surname

  4. Spinsternoun

    a woman of evil life and character; -- so called from being forced to spin in a house of correction

  5. Etymology: [Spin + -ster.]


  1. Spinster

    A spinster, or old maid, is an older, childless woman who has never been married. A "spinster" is not simply a "single" woman, but a woman who has not formed a human pair bond by the time she is approaching or has reached menopause and the end of her reproductive lifespan. For a woman to be identified as a spinster, age is critical. "If someone is a spinster, by implication she is not eligible [to marry]; she has had her chance, and been passed by," explains Robin Lakoff in Language and Woman's Place. "Hence, a girl of twenty cannot be properly called a spinster: she still has a chance to be married." "In modern everyday English," the New Oxford American Dictionary says, "spinster cannot be used to mean simply 'unmarried woman'; it is now always a derogatory term, referring or alluding to a stereotype of an older woman who is unmarried, childless, prissy, and repressed." The title "spinster" has nevertheless been embraced by feminists like Sheila Jeffreys, whose 1985 book The Spinster and Her Enemies defines spinsters simply as women who have chosen to reject sexual relationships with men.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Spinster

    spin′stėr, n. an unmarried female: an old maid: (obs.) a woman of loose character, fit for the spinning-house.—ns. Spin′sterdom, the world of old maids collectively; Spin′sterhood, Spin′stership, the state of being a spinster; Spin′stress, one who spins. [Orig. one who spins.]

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    An ember from which the sparks have flown.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Spinster

    A maiden lady, so called from the distaff or spindle, the regular occupation of an unmarried female.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce spinster?

How to say spinster in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of spinster in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of spinster in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of spinster in a Sentence

  1. Amal Clooney:

    I met George when I was 35 and starting to become quite resigned to the idea that I would be a spinster. Then we met, five years later, he is the person who has my complete admiration and also the person whose smile makes me melt every time.

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Translations for spinster

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"spinster." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/spinster>.

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