• A carpenter does carpentry.
  • A scientist does science.
  • An engineer does engineering.
  • A blacksmith does blacksmithing.

(The grammar of these sentences may be poor; the point is to get the idea across.)

So then:

  • What does an electrician do?
  • What does a (car) mechanic do?

Or are there perhaps really no such words?

  • 2
    Not all vocations have a neat correspondence between the names of the practitioner and the practice.
    – Robusto
    Dec 17, 2013 at 11:24
  • @Robusto ok, but does the vocation even have a name in this case? what are the vocations I'm referring to? Dec 17, 2013 at 11:33
  • Blacksmiths smith. So do silversmiths, goldsmiths etc. Dec 17, 2013 at 14:53
  • An electrician does electrical work, and a mechanic fixes cars. Also, I wouldn't say "a scientist does science," though I might say "a scientist does scientific work."
    – J.R.
    Dec 17, 2013 at 17:05
  • 1
    That's fine - although your question might read a little better if you change those four instances of "does" to "works in the field of".
    – J.R.
    Dec 18, 2013 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


You may consider that an electrician wires

wire : verb to provide (a building, room, etc.) with wires for a particular service or for electricity

and that a mechanic repairs

repair verb 1a : to restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken : fix b : to restore to a sound or healthy state : renew

from m-w.com

  • The "repair" is pretty generic, I know.
    – Jack Ryan
    Dec 17, 2013 at 14:34
  • 2
    It sounds like "automobile maintenance/repair" is a good fit for the mechanic. I'm not sure if "wire" is quite adequate for electrician, though, since they do more than that, as far as I know. It feels like there needs to be a word like "electricianism", but I guess none exists. Dec 18, 2013 at 17:36

It's by no means a 'single word', but many automobile mechanics would say that they do "Auto Repair". Though this of course only refers to the reparations of a vehicle, not the construction of one or the upgrading of one that is not broken.

For the act of working on a vehicle, there is "tuning up", or "bodywork" if you want to refer to only the outer 'body' of the car.

Or you could modify the two, since both individuals are engineers.

You could try 'automotive engineering' or 'electrical engineering', but both of these phrases specifically refer to automotive engineers and electrical engineers, rather than mechanics and electricians, so to avoid confusion, this is only advised if the person's role is already well established by context.

  • There is a big difference between what electricians do, and what electrical engineers do. Those are two different careers with distinctly different qualifications.
    – J.R.
    Dec 17, 2013 at 19:05
  • @J.R. I was not aware of the difference. My answer has been corrected.
    – Zibbobz
    Dec 17, 2013 at 19:12
  • That's an improvement, but I think the same is true in the automobile industry. The automotive engineer is designing next year's models. The mechanic is fixing the models from prior years.
    – J.R.
    Dec 17, 2013 at 19:18
  • @J.R. you know, that might be the root of the problem here. The listed individuals who perform "X" are all individuals who produce new products, whereas the two being asked about are repairmen working on products already in place.
    – Zibbobz
    Dec 17, 2013 at 20:09
  • 2
    Interesting thought, but... a researcher performs research, a surgeon performs surgery, a doctor practices medicine. A cosmetologist practices cosmetology, but a barber cuts hair. A coach coaches, a judge judges, a runner runs, but do coopers coop, or plumbers plumb? Electricians can lay the wire in a new building, or fix the wiring in an old building, the same way carpenters could be called in to build, repair, or renovate. I think it has more to do with etymology (where did the word come from?) than what the career demands.
    – J.R.
    Dec 17, 2013 at 20:27

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