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[uh-man-yoo-en-sis] /əˌmæn yuˈɛn sɪs/
noun, plural amanuenses
[uh-man-yoo-en-seez] /əˌmæn yuˈɛn siz/ (Show IPA)
a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary.
Origin of amanuensis
1610-20; < Latin (servus) āmanuēnsis, equivalent to ā- a-4 + manu-, stem of manus hand + -ēnsis -ensis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for amanuenses
Historical Examples
  • There were also three mayors under the maître échevin and a number of "amans" or amanuenses, answering to modern notaries.

    Odd Bits of History Henry W. Wolff
  • My amanuenses, my copyists, in Washington, have cost me a mint of money.

  • Milton dictated that immortal poem, "Paradise Lost," his daughters being his amanuenses; but Milton was then blind.

    Genius in Sunshine and Shadow Maturin Murray Ballou
  • Beyond a question more writers than we ever dreamed are only amanuenses of the Astute Author.

    Is the Devil a Myth? C. F. Wimberly
  • A great man thinks a thought in the presence of two amanuenses, provided I am right in spelling the plural in that way.

    A Guest at the Ludlow and Other Stories Edgar Wilson (Bill) Nye
  • He employed six amanuenses, not a large number of assistants for a task of such magnitude.

    Macaulay's Life of Samuel Johnson Thomas Babington Macaulay
  • He handed me three letters, all from men who once were slaves, not written by them individually, but by amanuenses.

    The Boys of '61 Charles Carleton Coffin.
  • When the expence of amanuenses and paper, and other articles are deducted, his clear profit was very inconsiderable.

    The Story of Doctor Johnson S. C. (Sydney Castle) Roberts
  • The custom of employing women as amanuenses has grown very largely of late years.

    Work for Women George J. Manson
  • If I had been doing my work in the city, he could have found me stenographers, amanuenses, or type-writers by the hundred.

    The House of Martha Frank R. Stockton
British Dictionary definitions for amanuenses


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
a person employed to take dictation or to copy manuscripts
Word Origin
C17: from Latin āmanuensis, from the phrase servus ā manū slave at hand (that is, handwriting)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amanuenses



"one who takes dictation," 1610s, from Latin amanuensis "adjective used as a noun," from servus a manu "secretary," literally "servant from the hand," from a "from" + manu, ablative of manus "hand" (see manual (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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