Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

amanuensis

play
noun aman·u·en·sis \ə-ˌman-yə-ˈwen(t)-səs\

Definition of amanuensis

plural

amanuenses

play \-(ˌ)sēz\
  1. :  one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscript



Examples of amanuensis in a sentence

  1. <thanks to the efforts of his dutiful amanuensis, copies of most of the author's letters and unpublished manuscripts have been preserved>



Did You Know?

In Latin, the phrase "servus a manu" translates loosely as "slave with secretarial duties." (The noun manu, meaning "hand," gave us words such as "manuscript," originally meaning a document written or typed by hand.) In the 17th century the second part of this phrase was borrowed into English to create "amanuensis," a word for a person who is employed (willingly) to do the important but sometimes menial work of transcribing the words of another. While other quaint words, such as "scribe" or "scrivener," might have similarly described the functions of such a person in the past, these days we’re likely to call him or her a "secretary," or maybe an "administrative assistant."

Origin and Etymology of amanuensis

Latin, from (servus) a manu slave with secretarial duties


First Known Use: 1619


Learn More about amanuensis


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up amanuensis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to criticize in a loud and angry way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

frenetic lazy melancholy philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ