1. A woman who spins, or whose occupation is to spin. "She spake to spinster to spin it out." (Piers Plowman) "The spinsters and the knitters in the sun." (Shak)

2. A man who spins.

3. An unmarried or single woman; used in legal proceedings as a title, or addition to the surname. "If a gentlewoman be termed a spinster, she may abate the writ." (Coke)

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

Origin: Spin + -ster.

(01 Mar 1998)