Dictionary.com says

1. a worker in metal.
2. a blacksmith.

Does this mean that they are the same?

  • 2
    You have the dictionary open, you can look at blacksmith too. – Matt E. Эллен Apr 4 '12 at 7:41
  • I strongly disagree with the close vote. Dictionary in hand, I still had this doubt and came here to ask this same question. The answer is apparently not really obvious (though it's not rocket-science either, sure). – o0'. Dec 22 '13 at 19:02

Not necessarily. A smith could be a whitesmith, a goldsmith, a silversmith, or more figuratively in coinages such as wordsmith or codesmith.

A blacksmith is what would usually be meant, though.

  • I disagree your "not necessarily". Rarely (archaically, imho) gold-smith, silver-smith may be hyphenated, but I can imagine no valid context where the word smith in isolation means anything other than a blacksmith. – FumbleFingers Apr 4 '12 at 12:54
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    @FumbleFingers - I can imagine the context where, for example, gold is under discussion and therefore smith would be taken to mean goldsmith but in most contexts it would be taken to mean blacksmith. – neil Apr 4 '12 at 13:44
  • 1
    If I walk into a goldsmith's shop and ask "is the smith available?" I don't think they'd tell me I need to go to the blacksmith's place down the street. (Unless the goldsmith was visiting the blacksmith, I suppose....) – Hellion Apr 4 '12 at 14:57
  • You have a better imagination than me. I'd still ask to see the goldsmith. – FumbleFingers Apr 4 '12 at 15:27
  • Don't forget The Poopsmith – Jason Kleban Apr 4 '12 at 18:58

In response to FumbleFingers (Don't have enough points to reply), a valid context for smith on its own:

Shakespeare was a master of words, a veritable smith.

  • 1
    This is the concept that linguists call being "unmarked". We experience it when we notice how odd the phrases "acoustic guitar" or "paper book" sound when we think about them; they are no longer the unmarked case, any more than "brick-and-mortar store" is. With smith one can, as with any word, create a context in which it would be unmarked. But one has to expend a lot of ingenuity to create all the presuppositions; better to write a novel. – John Lawler Apr 4 '12 at 15:33
  • I understand where you're coming from, but I think you're assuming unwarranted connotations of "expert craftsman" for the word. Granted, as etymonline points out, the direvation is O.E. smið "one who works in metal" (jewelers as well as blacksmiths), from P.Gmc. *smithaz "skilled worker". But I've never come across anything like your example, and Google books has nothing relevant for veritable smith, true smith, truly a smith (I can't think of anything else to search for). – FumbleFingers Apr 4 '12 at 15:34
  • I don't disagree that my example is rare, it was more to point out that smith by itself could allude to something else besides blacksmith. Even without my example, you say it could refer to any number of smithing professions, so the answer to @Mujeeb is "No, not always." – Charlotte Apr 4 '12 at 19:59

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