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Why does "carpenter" end in "er" if "carpent" isn't a word? Same with "butcher". (As in: "I butch for a living.")

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    Consider that the verbs are "to butcher" and "to carpenter", and "a butcherer" and "a carpenterer" would sound silly. (This reasoning is entirely false, since the nouns were in existence literally centuries before the verbs - but it might help you feel better about the whole situation :-)
    – psmears
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 11:33
  • Possibly a very short answer is "because it comes from the French".
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 12:11
  • You meant 'if "carpent" isn't a VERB', I presume. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 4:51
  • I imagine he's a carpeter with an extra n.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 9:10

1 Answer 1

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Because of their etymology.

ORIGIN Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Old French carpentier, charpentier, from late Latin carpentarius (artifex) ‘carriage (maker),’ from carpentum ‘wagon,’ of Gaulish origin; related to car.

ORIGIN Middle English: from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French bochier, from boc ‘he-goat,’ probably of the same ultimate origin as buck.

(OED)

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  • Harrold: Any relation to Mark?
    – zenbike
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 13:34

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