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This brief note is in response to requests asking me to define the term

'wordsmith' and to explain why I prefer it instead of 'writer' or 'author'.


The definition. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) ... arguably, the

'gold standard' for English language dictionaries ... defines a wordsmith as

'A skilled user or maker of words(McKean, OED Online, September 2013, e271792).


The explanation. After decades of quite literally 'writing for my supper', I realized

that practicing writers are both artists and artisans, who --- as with traditional artists

[e.g. painters, sculptors, musicians, singers, lyricists, actors, dancers] and artisans [e.g.

carpenters, masons, painters, blacksmiths, electricians, plumbers] --- invest hundreds

of hours in formal schooling and engage in demanding on-the-job training, to advance

from a 'novice' to 'apprentice', 'journeyman' and eventually a 'master' of their trade.

This training also includes learning how to critically read, analyze and interpret the

written, spoken and multi-media communications crafted by other wordsmiths.

[1]  Adler, M. J. (n.d.). "Teaching, Learning, and Their Counterfeits." In The Great Ideas Online. Center for the Study of  the Great Ideas. M. Weismann, Editor. 

       http://web.archive.org/web/20080603023807/http:/radicalacademy.com/adlerteaching.htm].
[2]  Adler, M. J. "Teaching and Learning." In Parnassus: Essays in Honor of Jacques Barzun. Dora B. Weiner and William R. Keylor, Editors. New York, Harper & Row (pp. 57-65) (1976).

'If You Build It' [write] 'They Will  Come'

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