Green’s Dictionary of Slang

spin n.2

[abbr. SE spinster]

a single woman; also a poor, unmarried young woman who travels to India in the hope of finding a husband; also attrib.

[Ind]F.J. Bellew ’Memoirs of a Griffin’ in Asiatic Jrnl & Mthly Register June 73: ‘Who noticed Miss Simper, the new spin, talking to that old fellow, MacGlashum?’ said Ensign O’Toole.
[Ind]G.F. Atkinson Curry & Rice (3 edn) n.p.: Loveliness ! that characteristic of British women, is but faintly exemplified among those at ‘Our Station’ who recreate in the appellation of ‘Spins’.
[Ind]Hills & Plains I 109: [T]hough he very nearly deserved the title of ‘old beau,’ [...] he never at this period made advances to representatives of the ‘Spin’ tribe [Ibid.] 111: ‘Spins [...] are too expensive a luxury for me. What possible use is a wife of your 6on? She must become a bore sooner or later!’.
[Ind]S.L. Blanchard Yesterday and To-day in India Mar. 116: She was just a little depressed, I heard, at this contretemps, but recovered herself on taking her place as the new spin of a Mofussil station.
[Ind]‘Aliph Cheem’ Lays of Ind (1905) 146: O spins., who list to a tale of love / In these outlandish parts, / If your lover must go and see his Gov, / Get married before he starts .
[Ind]R.A. Sterndale Afghan Knife III 96: ‘Lose an arm and get a V.C., and then perhaps some elderly spin or sentimental dowager may take compassion on your ugly mug and what is left of you’.
A.G. Sheill Year in India 135: To your veteran bowwow there is nothing in the world so distasteful as a ‘spin,’ and he deigns to follow only at a matron’s heels.
[Ind]B.M. Croker Mr Jervis 116: ‘Then what did you come out for, my dear young lady? You won’t throw dust in the eyes of an old ‘Qui hye’ like me, who has seen hundreds of new spins in his day?’.
[Aus]Eve. Jrnl (Adelaide) 8 Dec. 6/2: He certainly found a fascination in her society that he did not experience in the society of the very many tanned and fagged-looking ‘spins’ and grass widows who comprised the major part of the bon ton of Lahore.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 231/1: Spin (Anglo-Indian, 1800–50). Short for spinster – the brigades of unmarried and poor young ladies who once went out habitually to India for husbands.
[US]E. Wittmann ‘Clipped Words’ in DN IV:ii 121: spin, from spinster. ‘Lots of spins attended the mothers’ meeting.’.
[Ind]B.M. Croker Babes in the Wood 206: Mrs. Kennedy chaperoned her to the ‘Saturday club,’ and other dances, where the new ‘spin ‘ made an immediate sensation.