Word of the Day Archive
Saturday March 1, 2008
amanuensis \uh-man-yoo-EN-sis\ , noun:
A person employed to take dictation or to copy manuscripts.
The chore of actually writing the words in the end fell to a hand-picked amanuensis.
-- Austin Baer, "River of Desire", Atlantic, October 1996
On this blue day, I want to be
nothing more than an amanuensis
to the birds, transcribing all the bits
and snatches of song riding in on the wind.
-- Barbara Crooker, "Transcription (Poem)", Midwest Quarterly, March 22, 2003
When it comes to literature, the French count the largest number of Nobel Prizes; their authors include one who wrote a whole book without using the letter 'e' and another who, suffering from 'locked-in syndrome' after a severe stroke, dictated a memoir by blinking his eye as an amanuensis read through the alphabet.
-- Jonathan Fenby, France on the Brink
Amanuensis comes from Latin, from the phrase (servus) a manu, "slave with handwriting duties," from a, ab, "by" + manu, from manus, "hand."