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Jul 11, 2011
This week's theme
Professions that exist mainly as surnames

This week's words
chandler
wainwright
collier
chamberlain
granger

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Imagine life a few hundred years from now. Cars drive themselves. Faucets don't leak any more. Fire is tamed. Can you imagine people having names such as John Driver or Jane Plumber or Mary Firefighter? Would those surnames mean anything to most people?

It may sound fanciful, but that's how people were named in the past. Among other things, what you did gave you a name, Baker, Gardner, Cook, and so on. Even though John Smith may be a programmer today, chances are one of his ancestors worked with metal, as a smith.

This week we look at some professions from the past, most of which exist only as surnames.

chandler

PRONUNCIATION:
(CHAND-luhr)

MEANING:
noun:
1. One who makes or sells candles.
2. A dealer or supplier in other goods, for example, a ship chandler.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin candela (candle), from candere (to shine). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kand- (to shine) which is also the source of incense, incandescent, candid, candida, and candidate (in reference to white togas worn by Romans seeking office). Earliest documented use: 1389.

USAGE:
"The sisters at Deepdale were lucky to have received a request for beeswax from a chandler in York."
Cassandra Clark; The Law of Angels; Minotaur Books; 2011.

See more usage examples of chandler in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

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