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John Edwards

Fascinating. I think the word died out with maiden Great-aunt Alice. I don't think women in the current generation would enjoy being called spinsters even if it did suggest they were virtuous. :-)

There is a really good review of this book By atmj - Published on

I especially liked the comment "However, many children were lost at very young ages. Mourning was also a thing to be discouraged and not dwelt on. You were expected to be tough and not sentimental. Funny too how she was discouraged to mourn her children, while her brother in the loss of a son was given much sympathy." So true.


Interesting--I didn't know where that word came from. It's not a "pretty-sounding" word, but at least its original connotations were positive!


Isn't it interesting? I learned about the origin of the word in a women's lit class long ago. It was one of those wonderful moments when I realized that words had stories attached to them.

vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

That's a wonderful anecdote - put so well. I fear I am not a terribly virtuous spinster. Would much rather prop up the tea table with a good book!


Yes, you certainly don't hear the word in practical use anymore--only in books set in the Victorian period! Which is a good thing! :)I'm not surprised that the book got good reviews--I am enjoying it immensely. Isn't it awful how people were meant to just 'buck up' and get on with it all?!


It isn't very nice sounding at all, but very interesting to see how it came out--and maybe not with quite the same negative connotation as it got later.


I had no idea, though it makes complete sense. I keep coming across such interesting words and their real meanings lately--I need to be better about jotting them down as it really is very fascinating!


Hah. I'll have that tea table, too. Isn't it funny how such a utilitarian object got such a meaning?! And to think no one has a clue these days about it at all--sort of makes me laugh. Thank goodness we have come such a long way!


I had no idea. The corresponding word in German is Alte Jungfer. Fortunately it's not used anymore. It means old maiden and is anything but kind.


Words like that are rarely nice! Even though this has pious associations there is still the idea that a woman needs to be pure and I doubt there is a comparable word for men! At least with the same connotations. I had no idea either--so many words I use or know but don't actually know the meaning behind....

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