Have you always thought that unmarried women of a certain age were traditionally called spinsters? Well, it’s time to think again.
Thousands of people have been left re-evaluating their knowledge after a post on Twitter went viral this week, revealing that women over a certain age were no longer classed as spinsters.
Sophia Benoit, 26, from Los Angeles, California, shared her discovery on Twitter, and the funny post quickly received more than 80,000 likes in just one day.
Sophia Benoit, from Los Angeles, tweeted about the word ‘thornback’ and explained that it was used to describe unmarried women over the age of 26
She wrote: ‘Omg I just found out that spinster used to be reserved for women 23-26 and that after you turned 26 if you were unmarried you became a… THORNBACK. How f*****g great is that name!?’
Sophia joked it was time for her to open a bar named Thornback where ‘we only play Rom coms and the bachelor on TV.’
Dozens of people joined her in wonder and wholeheartedly embraced the term.
One person wrote: ‘Thornback sounds like a type of predatory dinosaur and that’s bada**.’
Another added: ‘I was a thornback for a full 10 months! I feel like I missed out on using my superpower.
Sophia, pictured, received thousands of responses to her tweet saying the term was ‘bada**’
Another Twitter user agreed, writing: ‘It sounds like unmarried women evolve from spiders into dragons, and I dig it.’
A thornback is a ray that has a row of spines along the back and tail, so the dragon link is quite fitting.
Another commented: ‘I have been looking for a great name of a girls band since college….JUST found it 40 years later ….The Thornbacks…freakin marvelous!’
Thousands of people said they were shocked they hadn’t heard of the term before
Some people couldn’t believe that they’d never heard of the word before.
One wrote: ‘I’m 54 and no-one HAS EVER TOLD ME THIS. Why? I love that name.’
One woman completely embraced the term saying: ‘My single friends and I made and bottled our own wine named Spin Vin. We would get together and sip it during our Spinster Flix evenings. Maybe time for some Thornback Malbec’
Author Rebecca Traister, writes about the term thornback in her book All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation.
She explains: ‘At twenty-six, women without spouses became thornbacks, a reference to a sea-skate with sharp spines covering its back and tail. It was not a compliment.’
Author Kate Bolick of a book entitled Spinster detailed the history of words associated with women prior to marriage and how they differed from what men have and are labeled within society.
She revealed the use of both spinster and thornback when using it to define an unmarried woman started in colonial America in the 1600s. But how the term thornback was first created remains unclear.
The Cambridge Dictionary describes a spinster as, ‘A woman who is not married, especially a woman who is no longer young and seems unlikely ever to marry.’
The words spinster and bachelor to describe unmarried women and men on official documents were used in the UK until 2005, before it was replaced with the catch all ‘single,’ reports the Smithsonian Mag.