Posted by TheFallen on April 17, 2002

In Reply to: Bachelorette posted by R. Berg on April 17, 2002

: : Fortunately we don't have this word over here - to us they're stag parties or hen parties - but I just wondered how recent this coinage is? I can understand why it arose though - a "spinster party" might be a tad hard to market.

: Apparently, from your post, in the U.K. a bachelorette is a gathering rather than a person. The only meaning I know for "bachelorette" in the U.S. is a young, unmarried woman. "Bachelorette" has different connotations than "spinster": a bachelorette is attractive in looks, personality, or both, and she probably lives apart from her parents. She may well marry someday. A spinster is past the usual age for marriage; she may or may not have left home. "Bachelorette" is the kind of word that makes word people wince. I don't know how old it is, but it isn't in my American print dictionaries.

Forgive me - I was being overly elliptical in my original post and therefore confusing. I only know of this term through the phrase "bachelorette party", and so, inasmuch as the word is known over here, it is also taken to be a connotation-free version of "spinster". It interests me precisely for that reason - although I think the word itself is wince-making, given the "left on the shelf" implications of spinster, one can easily see why there was a gap in the market for an utterly unpejorative word meaning "unmarried woman". I simply wonder roughly when that gap was filled.