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

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


First, 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).


Now, the explanation. Based on decades of experience quite literally laboring as a working

wordsmith, I came to see practicing wordsmiths as 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, architects, electricians, plumbers,

surveyors] --- invest hundreds of hours of study and practice, and engage in demanding on-

the-job training, to advance from a 'novice' to an 'apprentice', a 'journeyman' and eventually

a 'master' of their trade. This training also includes learning how to critically read, analyze and

'decode' the written, spoken and multi-media communications created by other WordSmiths.

WordShop Publications  Physics of Writing Inc. Copyright 2017 Donald K. Beman  All Rights Reserved

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

  • Whistle While You Work3:26