Literally discriminating against single women

January 8, 2013


Consider these words from Roget’s Thesaurus under the headings relating to


partnered, paired, mated, matched, tied, spliced, hitched, in double harness, espoused, wedded, united, made man and wife, made one, joined in holy matrimony, ‘bone of one’s bones and flesh of one’s flesh’, monogamous, just married, newly married, newly wed, honeymooning, find a husband, ask for the hand of, quit the single state, renounce bachelorhood, take the plunge, get married, accept a proposal, one’s promised, bride, nuptials, plight one’s troth, become engaged, engagement ring, lead to the altar, walk down the aisle, wedding day, say ‘I do’, betroth, affiance, espouse, bestow in marriage, join in marriage, make fast in wedlock, declare man and wife, join, tie the knot, love, be loved, pair off, mate, couple, co-habit, live together, set up house together, share bed, live as man and wife, marry well, make a good match, make love, wedded bliss, conjugal, partner, friend, other half, beloved, dearest, true love, love match, love of my life, have and to hold, adore, worship, only have eyes for, live for, passion, love to distraction, fancy, be sweet on, carry a torch for, crazy over, woo, court, captivate, desire, the one, darling, sweetheart, cherish, embrace, husband and wife, couple, two, pair, partnership, team, union, better half, soul mate, alliance, spouse, life partner, Mr and Mrs, wedding ring, marriage.


This list is all very cosy with a touch of smugness about it.  Now consider the words to describe

an unmarried woman:

Miss, femme sole, solo, alone, maid unwed, single, lonely-heart, available, one, mateless, spouseless, husbandless, on the shelf, shelf-bound, free, past sell-by date, Bridget Jones, frump, heart-whole, fancy-free, independent, maidenly, old maid, maiden aunt, virgin, virginal, virgo intacta, pure, spinster, spinsterlike, spinsterish, old-maidish, bachelor girl, celibate, nunnish, nunlike  unwooed, unloved, unmated, unasked, unmarried, uncaught, unwed, unaccompanied, unattached, unescorted, unpartnered, wallflower, never the bride, live in single blessedness, loner, not the marrying kind, singleton, off the radar, recluse, refuse marriage, refuse all offers, keep heart-whole, remain fancy-free, have no offers, receive no proposals, live like a hermit, take the veil, still waiting.



There are fewer words to describe the single state, but aren’t they harsh?  It would seem that even the English language in all its richness, has it in for the single woman.


Article by Annie Harrison, author of Finding Mr Right:  The Real Woman’s Guide to Landing That Man

Images Roy Lichtenstein



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: