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The source of a quote that was written (perhaps in a book) would be the "author" of the quote. What if the quote was said? Is it the "dictator" of the quote? That sounds odd and "speaker" just doesn't sit right with me. Any other suggestions?

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    Author still works, IMO – Armen Ծիրունյան Mar 20 '15 at 13:05
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    And so does source. – John Lawler Mar 20 '15 at 13:06
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    Originator (of the quote) – ermanen Mar 20 '15 at 13:24
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    Also, you should probably not call it "your quote" unless you are instructing the speaker. Consider "the quote" or "Please cite the quote's speaker." – Ian MacDonald Mar 20 '15 at 14:01
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    The word is author. And Armen said so in the very first comment. Why is everyone after him falling over themselves trying to reinvent the bicycle? It is author. "Please provide the author of the quote." Not sayer, not orator, not speaker. It is author. And nobody at all will take that to mean "please provide a URL". So simple. Come on. – RegDwigнt Mar 20 '15 at 14:28
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Quotee (Merriam-Webster, Wiktionary) just means the person who is quoted. It applies regardless of how the quotee used the words (spoken, written).

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The long and short of it:

author n
Far more commonly, and narrowly, defined as

1 A writer of a book, article, or document (ODO)

Nearly all definitions in most of the major dictionaries include "writing" as an essential part of the definition. Secondary meanings given are generally in the nature of metaphorical or overly-literary/ formal use that is an overly broad

1.3 An originator of a plan or idea (ibid)

that is not necessarily even about a literary piece, let alone a quotable one.

Wikipedia, on the other hand, places the broader definition first:

An author is broadly defined as "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work and can also be described as a writer.

But again, it is not necessarily about a literary work in any way.

In summary, the word author cannot mean "the originator of an utterance," although it does not exclude such an instance.

We may thus have to look at alternatives such as source and speaker as a compromise. (Both seem inadequate to me, but source is widely used.)

Finally, a last resort could probably be:
utterer

New sets of words, new collocations of old phrases are new, whatever the expressed intention of the utterer. (OED)

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  • Technically, utterer is correct (just like originator, orator, and speaker), but in terms of cacophony? Yuck. – Mike Mar 20 '15 at 18:06
  • Reg Dwight gives the accepted (by most anglophones) view here: 'The word is author. And Armen said so in the very first comment. Why is everyone after him falling over themselves trying to reinvent the bicycle? It is author.' – Edwin Ashworth Mar 22 '15 at 15:06
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As @Armen wrote, author is appropriate since it does not necessarily refer to writing — although not all dictionaries list this (Oxford doesn't, Cambridge has 'a person who begins or creates something'). Indeed, the etymology is (according to etymonline.com) :

author (n.) c.1300, autor "father," from Old French auctor, acteor "author, originator, creator, instigator (12c., Modern French auteur), from Latin auctorem (nominative auctor) "enlarger, founder, master, leader," literally "one who causes to grow," agent noun from auctus, past participle of augere "to increase" (see augment). Meaning "one who sets forth written statements" is from late 14c. The -t- changed to -th- 16c. on mistaken assumption of Greek origin.

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  • Please see definitions, not etymology, first. – Kris Mar 20 '15 at 15:28
  • @Kris ngrams shows significant usage for "author of the quote". Please remember that dictionaries don't make language. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Mar 20 '15 at 15:45
  • Oxford certainly 'lists this'. Unless you mean a dictionary other than the one many people will think you mean. In which case you should certainly make it clear that you're not talking about the Oxford English Dictionary here. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 20 '15 at 16:37
  • @EdwinAshworth No exceptions. Please see my answer on this page. – Kris Mar 21 '15 at 4:52
  • @Kris The Oxford Dictionary of Plant-Lore seems to miss it :-0. Seriously, thanks for the corrective. But I don't understand 'In summary, the word author cannot mean "the originator of an utterance," although it does not exclude such an instance'. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 21 '15 at 9:20

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