: one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscript
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."
Marco worked as an amanuensis for a judge who needed to compose his opinions orally while recovering from cataract surgery.
"As early as the 1840s and 1850s, the Ohio Cultivator published women's columns that spoke vividly for women's rights and honed the talents of two important abolitionist feminists, Hanna Maria Tracy Cutler and Frances Dana Gage, who is now best remembered as the amanuensis for Sojourner Truth's 'Ain't I a Woman' speech." -- From Frances W. Kaye's 2011 book Goodlands: A Meditation and History on the Great Plains
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Memory
What is the meaning of "roué," our Word of the Day from June 13? The answer is ...
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP