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This is somewhat of a fringe question, I’m sure, but the recent question asking for a gender-neutral of craftsmanship thread got me thinking.

Since the suffix ‑man has become something of a gender-neutral placeholder until a more gender-explicit solution is widely adopted, it has the interesting quality of lacking the strong gender implication that the suffix ‑woman possesses.

For instance, craftswoman or craftswomanship would never be used in reference to a male’s handiwork. What then is a term that would never be used in reference to a female’s handiwork?

  • Craftweremanship :) – guifa Nov 1 '14 at 0:09
  • @guifa which is basically the coolest word ever, but is this appropriate? I've heard a lot of words before, but I've never heard the suffix wereman used before the previous thread. – DiscOH Nov 1 '14 at 0:10
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    Definitely a joke. That said, wereman would be the technically correct exclusively masculine version of woman, it's just completely fallen out of use except, oddly, very recently to refer to the human form of lycanthropes. =\ – guifa Nov 1 '14 at 0:18
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    Woman is of course short for wife-man, so craftswomanship is unfortunately polluted with the gender neutral man. You will need craftswifeship or craftsmaidship for the non-fighting arts and craftswereship or craftsgroomship (in line with @guifa 's suggestion) for the fighting arts. – jlovegren Nov 1 '14 at 0:25
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    As @guifa is aware, the word were meant “man” in the lost languages of the North that is forgotten. It could also mean “husband” the way we today use it in “man and wife”. See Beowulf. It is cognate to Latin vir for “man” — whence virile. More recently than Beowulf and Commentarii de Bello Gallico was this evocative line written: “Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert.” – tchrist Nov 1 '14 at 1:56
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You can treat the word as you would ‘blacksmith’.

Certainly, many people will write things like craftswoman, making your question relevant. However, since woman literally means female man, ‘craftswoman’ and similar wordisms sound more like clever wordplay to me, useful in certain situations, rather than serious words.

I find that ‘female craftsman’ works much better and, by the same token, ‘male craftsman’ for your scenario. The derivatives would be the same.

If you really want to coin a new word, I would go with craftswain (^_^)/.

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