I'm a native Dutch speaker writing a short English piece on sitting professions, sitting positions and whether these positions are back friendly. In Dutch we would just write these words together, but this seems wrong in English. What are proper terms for sitting profession, sitting position and back friendly?

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    That would be a "desk job". – Hot Licks May 10 '15 at 20:29
  • You can run words together in English, but you are more likely to keep the spaces, as in back-friendly sitting positions. It reminds me of the British claim to excel at "sitting-down sports" such as cycling, rowing, sailing and equestrian. – Henry May 11 '15 at 7:02
  • Hot Licks is right - also, a job in which one is paid to do mental labour is sometimes called a 'white-collar' job (as opposed to a job in which one does physical labour, which is a 'blue-collar' job). White-collar jobs are very often 'desk jobs' and involve a lot of sitting down. – A E May 11 '15 at 10:18
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    @HotLicks Driving commercial vehicles and working on a checkout are examples of "sitting" professions - neither are desk jobs. – Michael May 11 '15 at 12:00
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    @Mikaveli - I'll give you the driving, but in the US it's exceedingly rare for a checkout person (cashier) to be seated. – Hot Licks May 11 '15 at 12:07

A profession in which one sits for long periods is a sedentary profession, and a seated position might also be described as sedentary.

A back-friendly posture might be called ergonomic, but that sense is more of a marketing buzzword than a "proper" usage. I might just stick with back-friendly for that.

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    Welcome to ELU Malnormal, your answer would be more valuable if you cited a dictionary or other authoritative resource. – ScotM May 10 '15 at 19:24
  • Ergonomic has been a successful marketing buzzword for long enough (a couple decades by my recollection) that it is widely understood in this sense. – Kevin Krumwiede May 10 '15 at 23:30
  • Is it conventional here to regard dictionaries as authoritative? That's a little linguistically backwards, IMO – Malnormalulo May 11 '15 at 22:42

I would say desk job indicates a job requiring sitting. In terms of sitting position I would say do not slouch but sit up straight. And in terms of back-friendly I would recommend good posture.

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    A limo driver sits, but you wouldn't describe that as a desk job, would you? – Michael May 11 '15 at 15:47

Sedentary would describe a very inactive occupation. However, it doesn't specifically mean sitting.

Posture might work for sitting position... Seated posture to be more specific, but, again, it doesn't directly specifically mean sitting.

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    It sure does mean seated. Check a dictionary. It is the best word choice here; just what is asked for. – Steven Littman May 10 '15 at 23:06
  • I stand corrected, it does mean seated. Thank you, Steven. – Stuart Carter May 11 '15 at 5:57
  • Also I don't see how seated posture doesn't directly specifically mean sitting. – ChrisW May 11 '15 at 8:53
  • @PatrickT From sedentarius, an adjective from sedeo ... which IMO means "I sit" even more than "I stay" -- anyway, sedentary doesn't 'sound uneducated' to me. – ChrisW May 11 '15 at 10:01
  • @ChrisW, you're right. Oops. – PatrickT May 11 '15 at 11:09

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