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Why does "carpenter" end in "er" if "carpent" isn't a word? Same with "butcher". (As in: "I butch for a living.")

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Consider that the verbs are "to butcher" and "to carpenter", and "a butcherer" and "a carpenterer" would sound silly. (This reasoning is entirely false, since the nouns were in existence literally centuries before the verbs - but it might help you feel better about the whole situation :-) – psmears Jul 7 '11 at 11:33
Possibly a very short answer is "because it comes from the French". – Joe Blow Jul 7 '11 at 12:11
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Because of their etymology.

ORIGIN Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Old French carpentier, charpentier, from late Latin carpentarius (artifex) ‘carriage (maker),’ from carpentum ‘wagon,’ of Gaulish origin; related to car.

ORIGIN Middle English: from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French bochier, from boc ‘he-goat,’ probably of the same ultimate origin as buck.


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Harrold: Any relation to Mark? – zenbike Jul 7 '11 at 13:34

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