It seems to me that most English words similar to lutherie (crafting stringed instruments) end in ‑y. That is, nouns for professions or activities that are used instead of gerunds with objects. (That is, lutherie is a noun, crafting is a gerund, stringed instruments is the object.) For example, forestry (managing forests) or archery (shooting arrows).

Why does lutherie end with ‑ie?

  • 2
    For what it's worth, "lutherie" is not listed at all in any of the freely-available online dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, the Online Etymology Dictionary, Oxford Dictionaries, or Cambridge Dictionaries.
    – nohat
    May 28, 2011 at 2:42
  • 1
    @nohat I have only heard it as luthier.
    – tchrist
    Oct 1, 2012 at 1:26
  • And what of luthiery and luthierie both which I've seen, but not in dictionaries? There is a Luthier school called the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Arizona. And possibly luthierie used as a noun meaning “a workshop for building stringed instruments”.
    – user136013
    Aug 31, 2015 at 12:18

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting question Matthew Read. I looked up the etymologies, and this is what I got:

Lutherie: From French luthier, from luth (“lute”) , from Old French lut

Forestry:from O.Fr. foresterie, from forest.

Both of these came from French, but their spellings are different because "lutherie" is used much less than "forestry". You can't even find "lutherie" in dictionaries. However, "forestry" is used more frequently, and its spelling has been standardized.

Words that are used more have their spelling updated, while not so popular words remain archaic in spelling.

  • 1
    Fair enough. +1, will wait on acceptance to see if I get anything else. Perhaps I'll begin using "luthery" to help it along :P May 28, 2011 at 3:18
  • Oops! spelt "dictionarie". Your question is growing on my spelling!
    – Thursagen
    May 28, 2011 at 3:21
  • 1
    +1 Likewise archery is from Old French archerie.
    – Hugo
    Oct 21, 2011 at 9:29

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