scriv·​en·​er ˈskriv-nər How to pronounce scrivener (audio)
: a professional or public copyist or writer : scribe

Example Sentences

the roomful of unsung scriveners that it takes to churn out a weekly sitcom the details of the contract were worked out by a lawyer, I being involved with it merely as a scrivener
Recent Examples on the Web The name of the candidate omitted in the Voter Guide is highlighted in red to emphasize the scrivener’s error., 25 Mar. 2021 Her narrator’s final gesture, transforming herself into a piece of half-living art, echoes the odd and combative passivity of Herman Melville’s Bartleby, a scrivener who suddenly, inexplicably, refuses to perform his duties. Alexandra Kleeman, Vanities, 2 July 2018 But the scrivener simply repeated the same five words, with no explanation for his conduct. The Economist, 26 May 2018 In the short story by Herman Melville from which our new column takes its name, Bartleby was a scrivener—a dying art, nowadays. The Economist, 26 May 2018 In 1727, when Benjamin Franklin was twenty-one, he and a few friends—among them a scrivener, a joiner, and two cobblers—formed a conversation club called the Junto. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 1 Dec. 2014 Almost always, Shakespeare’s plays become mirrors when held up to the moments in which they are produced; Ralph Crane the scrivener was only the first among many annotators. Cynthia Zarin, The New Yorker, 15 Feb. 2017 The difference between a merchant’s handwriting and a scrivener’s is clear enough, the one scrawled and bold, the other neat and careful. Tim Parks, New York Times, 11 May 2016 Sporting an all-black outfit, the former scrivener for the Dead was the crowd favorite. Y. Peter Kang, WIRED, 11 July 2000 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scrivener.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English scriveiner, alteration of scrivein, from Anglo-French escrivein, from Vulgar Latin *scriban-, scriba, alteration of Latin scriba scribe

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scrivener was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near scrivener

Cite this Entry

“Scrivener.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


scriv·​en·​er ˈskriv-(ə-)nər How to pronounce scrivener (audio)
: a professional copyist or writer : scribe

Legal Definition


scriv·​en·​er ˈskri-və-nər How to pronounce scrivener (audio)
: a professional or public copyist or writer of official or formal documents (as deeds or contracts)

Middle English, alteration of scriveyn, from Anglo-French escrivein, ultimately from Latin scriba public record keeper, from scribere to write

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