Friday, 1 January 2010


Let's start the new year with another word I feel sure I should have heard before but can't seem to recall:

amanuensis n (pl amanuenses) somebody employed to write from dictation or to copy a manuscript

This is a profession that must have fallen out of favour a long time ago, particularly in terms of the secondary definition. I have someone I occasionally employ to copy my manuscripts, but I call him HP Deskjet.

Happy New Year, everybody.


  1. This word is still in common usage in the world of exams, where a student who has difficulty writing (due to physical disability, severe dyslexia etc.) may be eligible for an amanuensis. The amanuensis may take dictation from the student or copy a paper that would seem illegible to an examiner who did not know the student's handwriting.

    Love this blog, you've found some fantastic words.

  2. That's really interesting - thank you for letting me know. Glad you're enjoying the blog!