from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A woman who has remained single beyond the conventional age for marrying.
- n. A single woman.
- n. A person whose occupation is spinning.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A woman who has never been married, especially one past the typical marrying age according to social traditions.
- n. 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.
- n. Someone whose occupation was spinning thread.
- n. A woman of evil life and character; so called from being forced to spin in a house of correction.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A woman who spins, or whose occupation is to spin.
- n. A man who spins.
- n. An unmarried or single woman; -- used in legal proceedings as a title, or addition to the surname.
- n. A woman of evil life and character; -- so called from being forced to spin in a house of correction.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A woman who spins; by extension, any person who spins; a spinner.
- n. An unmarried woman (so called because she was supposed to occupy herself with spinning): the legal designation in England of all unmarried women from a viscount's daughter downward; popularly, an elderly unmarried woman; an “old maid”: sometimes used adjectively.
- n. A woman of an evil life or character: so called from being forced to spin in the house of correction. See spin-house.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an elderly unmarried woman
- n. someone who spins (who twists fibers into threads)
Middle English spinnestere, female spinner of thread : spinnen, to spin; see spin + -estere, -ster, -ster.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From spin + -ster, from a historical notion of unmarried women spinning thread for a living. (Wiktionary)