Definition of amanuensis
- composed her autobiography with the help of an amanuensis
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
thanks to the efforts of his dutiful amanuensis, copies of most of the author's letters and unpublished manuscripts have been preserved
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amanuensis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
First Known Use: 1619See Words from the same year
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for amanuensis
What made you want to look up amanuensis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to cause to suffer severely from hunger
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Winter Words Quiz