Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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

share|improve this question
    
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

1 Answer 1

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.

(OED)

share|improve this answer
    
Harrold: Any relation to Mark? –  zenbike Jul 7 '11 at 13:34

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.