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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. It only takes a minute to sign up. Bachelorette is an American English term for an unmarried woman. A bachelorette may have once been in a marriage or pair bonding relationship that produced children in her past.

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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. A synonymous but more pejorative term is old maid. Long before the Industrial Age , "spinster" denoted girls and women who spun wool.

According to the Online Etymological Dictionary , spinning was "commonly done by unmarried women, hence the word came to denote" an unmarried woman in legal documents from the s to the early s, and "by was being used generically for 'woman still unmarried and beyond the usual age for it'". The Oxford American Dictionary tags "spinster" meaning " By the s, the term had evolved to include women who chose not to marry. During that century middle-class spinsters, as well as their married peers, took ideals of love and marriage very seriously, and spinsterhood was indeed often a consequence of their adherence to those ideals.

They remained unmarried not because of individual shortcomings but because they didn't find the one "who could be all things to the heart". Marry to escape the ridicule of being called an old maid? How dare you, then, pervert the most sacred institution of the Almighty, by becoming the wife of a man for whom you can feel no emotions of love, or respect even?

The Oxford American English Dictionary defines spinster as "an unmarried woman, typically an older woman beyond the usual age for marriage". It adds: "In modern everyday English, however, spinster cannot be used to mean simply 'unmarried woman'; as such, it is a derogatory term, referring or alluding to a stereotype of an older woman who is unmarried, childless, prissy, and repressed.

Currently, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines the "unmarried woman" sense of the term in three ways: 1 an archaic usage meaning "an unmarried woman of gentle family", 2 a meaning related to 1 but not tagged as archaic: "an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying" and 3 "a woman who seems unlikely to marry".

A usage note goes on to say that this sense "is It implies negative qualities such as being fussy or undesirable". Also included is a sense of the word used specifically in a legal context: "a woman who has never married". Age is a crucial part of the definition, according to Robin Lakoff 's explanation in Language and Woman's Place. The title "spinster" has been embraced by feminists like Sheila Jeffreys , whose book The Spinster and Her Enemies defines spinsters simply as women who have chosen to reject sexual relationships with men.

We think we know what the wife is up to and what the mother is up to but the single woman is mysterious. I like that mystery. So the term is a useful way to hold onto the idea of autonomy that can get so easily lost inside of marriage or motherhood.

In , in England and Wales, the term was abolished in favour of "single" for the purpose of marriage registration. In the United States, 'spinster' is the legal term used to refer to a woman who has never married, just as the male counterpart of 'bachelor' refers to a man who has never married.

Once men and women are married, they can never revert to the state of 'never married'. These legal terms bear no other connotations. One University of Missouri study found that modern spinsters feel a social stigma attached to their status, and a sense of both heightened visibility and invisibility.

Writer and spinster Louisa May Alcott famously wrote that "liberty is a better husband than love to many of us". In the early 19th century, particularly in England, women would fall under Coverture , stating that all property and contracts in their name would be ceded to their husbands.

This was particularly common in women who owned businesses. The First World War prevented many within a generation of women from experiencing romance and marriage, or having children. In modern peacetime societies with wide opportunities for romance, marriage and children, there are other reasons that available women remain single as they approach old age. Psychologist Erik Erikson postulated that during young adulthood ages 18 to 39 , individuals experience an inner conflict between a desire for intimacy i.

Some writers have suggested that to understand why women do not marry, one should examine reasons women do marry and why it may be assumed they should marry in the first place. According to Adrienne Rich , "Women have married because it was necessary, in order to economically, in order to have children who would not suffer economic deprivation or social ostracism, in order to remain respectable, in order to do what was expected of women because coming out of 'abnormal' childhoods they wanted to feel 'normal', and because heterosexual romance has been represented as the great female adventure, duty, and fulfillment".

Spinsters have been a focus of attention from the media and mainstream culture for centuries. They are the "aanissat" in Arabic, "spinsters" or "old maids" in English, "vieilles filles" in French, "zitelle" in Italian, "alte Jungfer" in German, or "dakhtar torsheedeh" in Persian. In Australia, parties are held for young single people to meet and socialize particularly in the rural areas. There is also a philanthropic group of women between the ages of 21 and 35, called the Spinsters of San Francisco, who organize events.

By the s, interest developed in this word as a form of reappropriation from third-wave feminists. In both The Taming of the Shrew early s and Much Ado About Nothing late s , William Shakespeare referred to a contemporary saying that it was the fate of women who died unmarried to lead apes into hell.

By the time of the British Regency , ape leader had become a slang term for an old maid. It is often used in that context in Regency romances and other literature set in that period. The books Washington Square and The Heiress have old maid heroines who ultimately choose to remain spinsters and embrace the freedom of not having to enter marriage.

One stereotype of spinsters that appears in literature is that they are downtrodden or spineless women who were victims of an oppressive parent. This stereotype is played out in William Faulkner 's classic short story " A Rose for Emily " , in which Emily's father is confident that no man is worthy of his daughter's hand in marriage.

Other stereotypes include women who were relegated to lifetime roles as family caretaker for their family of origin [36] or for a married sibling's children, "poor relations" who would work "to earn their keep" as nannies or unpaid domestics. In the Charles Dickens ' classic Great Expectations , the primary antagonist is Miss Havisham , a spinster embittered by being defrauded and abandoned on her wedding day; an event that shaped the rest of her life, and by extension, those around her.

Another stereotype of the spinster that has appeared in literature is the quick-witted and sometimes quick-tempered independent woman, who has remained unmarried by choice, as in "Spinster Thurber's Carpet" , Pauline Phelps 's popular short story and play about an unmarried woman who decides during the Revolutionary War that she'd rather have a carpet than a husband. The popular and shrewdly intelligent detective Miss Marple was a spinster heroine in Agatha Christie 's series of crime novels, which later became a television series.

In Jane Austen 's Emma , the character Miss Bates is a spinster, and Austen who never married gives her stereotypical negative characteristics such as garrulousness. Bob Dylan 's song " The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll " tells the true story of a murder at a spinsters' ball in Baltimore in Paul McCartney , while in the Beatles , composed the hit song " Eleanor Rigby " about the loneliness and death of a spinster though he never used the term in the lyrics.

The country song " Delta Dawn ", made famous by Tanya Tucker , overviews the plight of a woman focused on a single lost love, destined to go unmarried unless the lover returns. Lemon, a something single woman whose relationships never seem to work out, has unrealistically high expectations for a male partner: her dream husband is the archetypal "Astronaut Mike Dexter", and for much of the series her character is holding out on settling on a man until she can score an astronaut.

Unpopped popcorn kernels have been dubbed "old maids" in popular slang, since like unmarried women who never had children, the kernels do not "pop". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Unmarried woman, often older. For other uses, see Old maid disambiguation. Retrieved 2 April Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 5 June Old Bailey Proceedings Online. Retrieved 28 July The Book of Common Prayer. American English. Oxford dictiionaries. Retrieved 11 June Archived from the original on 22 February Retrieved 8 November Journal of Social History.

Retrieved 19 October Language and Woman's Place. New York: Harper and Row. The Globe and Mail. P Bachelors and Spinsters". Retrieved 8 April March New England Historical Society. Women Alone Spinsters in England Yale University Press. The Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson. Summer, , pp. Morocco World News. Retrieved 14 April Archived from the original on 3 March Bitch Magazine. Gargantua and Pantagruel, The Fifth Book. Retrieved 22 March Oxford English Dictionary. Archived from the original on 22 March Customs and Fashions in Old New England.

The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 25 December Retrieved 23 March Mosby's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved 2 June Slang City. LA Times.

single woman

The term is derived from the word bachelor , and is often used by journalists, editors of popular magazines, and some individuals. In older English, the female counterpart term to "bachelor" was " spinster ". However, this has acquired negative connotations and mostly been abandoned. When used now, it tends to imply that the woman has never been married and is too old to find a husband and have children. In Canada , the term bachelorette also refers to a small bachelor apartment an apartment with only one large room serving as a bedroom and living room plus a separate bathroom—i.

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.

That her definitions apply to men and women alike might seem to suggest that the single experience is the same regardless of gender. Bachelor originally referred to men of inferior status in professions so demanding, they precluded marriage. Much later, Victorian matchmakers appropriated the term and added eligible, for an unmarried man blessed with financial and social inducements, and confirmed, for any who wanted to remain that way. It originated in fifteenth-century Europe as an honorable way to describe the girls, most of them unmarried, who spun thread for a living—one of very few respectable professions available to women.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Learn more Got it! To be intoxicated by a single glass of wine; I have experienced this pleasure when I have drunk the liquor of the esoteric doctrines. He whipped off his belt and added it to the rest of his belongings, leaving a single knife strapped to his thigh. Home Thesaurus single. Sorting by. Acting, working, etc. Showing a marked departure from previous practice; new:. Showing a marked departure from previous practice; new: Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual: Preceding all others in time; first: Go to " original " definitions.

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Bachelorette is a term used in American English for a single, unmarried woman. The term is derived from the word bachelor, and is often used by journalists, For other uses, see Bachelorette (disambiguation). "Single women" redirects here.

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Comments: 2
  1. Mekasa

    Prompt, where I can read about it?

  2. Dosho

    I am sorry, that has interfered... This situation is familiar To me. Let's discuss. Write here or in PM.

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