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#204416 - 01/29/12 09:54 AM metier
BranShea Offline
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Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
"From a book I'm reading: "None of this means that the Middle Ages had failed to diffuse advances in practical knowledge, but this effort was restricted by their institutions. The guilds of artisans kept the tricks of the trade secret; they were valuable property, as are today patents and copyrights. By an unconcious pun, the French for craft - métier- was thought (erroneously) to be derived from mistère(= mystery)." -

I looked up the closest easy to find etymology of metier adn found:

1792, from Fr. métier "trade, profession," from O.Fr. mestier, from Gallo-Romance *misterium, from L. ministerium "office, service," from minister "servant" (see minister).

It seems to me that métier coming from *misterium is more plausible than it coming from L. ministerium in spite of what the author of the book says. More likely the English, only starting to use it from 1792 connected it to "office".


Edited by BranShea (01/29/12 03:47 PM)

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#204417 - 01/29/12 10:07 AM Re: metier [Re: BranShea]
HalAl Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/22/04
Posts: 19
Loc: Central Indiana
I seem to recall that some religious rites were considered "mysteries" in pre-Christian times, and the Christian church picked up on the idea of mystery. Is there no connection between an ecclesiastical mystery and a trade secret? To me they seem to follow.

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#204418 - 01/29/12 10:49 AM Re: metier [Re: HalAl]
Rhubarb Commando Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 1074
Loc: Lancaster, UK
... and most certainly the Mediæval Gilds referred to their trade secrets as "the mysteries of the craft."
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#204419 - 01/29/12 11:07 AM Re: metier [Re: Rhubarb Commando]
LukeJavan8 Online   sleepy
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6402
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
As do the Masonic lodges today.
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#204422 - 01/29/12 03:42 PM Re: metier [Re: Rhubarb Commando]
BranShea Offline
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Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Originally Posted By: Rhubarb Commando
... and most certainly the Mediæval Gilds referred to their trade secrets as "the mysteries of the craft."
Yes indeed, that is what the quote is telling us. I brought it in here because of the writer's opinion that the French were "erroneous" about the etymology. That is what I doubt.



Edited by BranShea (01/29/12 03:45 PM)

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#204426 - 01/29/12 10:59 PM Re: metier [Re: BranShea]
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
zmjezhd? Can you enlighten us on this intriguing mystery? (I love a good mystery; thanks, Branny!)

I will say, I can see how 'minister' prolly went to 'serve' then 'work'. This stuff is so much fun!

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#204429 - 01/30/12 05:50 AM Re: metier [Re: Jackie]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Yes and I can see how métier, mestier could come from misterium and so I wonder, yes I wonder who stole the show.

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#204432 - 01/30/12 06:57 AM Re: metier [Re: BranShea]
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Folk etymologies almost always do seem to make sense. That doesn't make them right.

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#204434 - 01/30/12 07:46 AM Re: metier [Re: Jackie]
zmjezhd Offline
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Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Can you enlighten us on this intriguing mystery?

Sorry, not really. Either looks plausible. All the dictionaries I checked derive métier from ministerium and not from mysterium. You'd really need to talk to a French lexicographer to find out what's up. It's good to remember that the etymologies one finds in dictionaries are just an abbreviated form of what scholars write out in articles and monographs which would contain more of an argument for why a certain etymology lost out to another one.
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#204442 - 01/30/12 01:36 PM Re: metier [Re: zmjezhd]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Then we'll live with one more intriguing mystery left intact. As is OK. Thanks for taking the trouble.

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