Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

Dictionary of Ancient Occupations and Trades,
Ranks, Offices, and Titles

TOP A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z BOT
Jump to: CA CE CH CI CL CO CR CU
Guide

new = Recent changes
as of 2014-12-07
cabbie
a cabdriver (=one who drives a taxicab for hire.)
caddie
sports one hired to serve as an attendant to a golfer, esp. by carrying the golf clubs, but also to give advice on how to play.
Scots a boy who does odd jobs.
cadet
mil a student at a military school or academy in training as an officer
a younger (or youngest) son or brother
slang a pimp
cadger
a begger
obs a peddler
caitiff
a despicable coward; a wretch.
calenderer
an operator of a calendering machine (=which presses cloth between rollers to produce a smooth and glossy, or textured, surface.)
caliph
a male leader of an Islamic polity.
call boy (female~ girl)
one who tells performers when it is time to go on stage
a bellhop
femalea prostitute hired by telephone
caller
one that calls, esp. one placing a telephone call.
a person paying a short social visit.
one who calls out numbers or directions, as at a bingo game or a square dance.
camerarius
see chamberlain
canceler
see chancellor
candlewaster
joc. a hack writer
canon
eccl. hist. a clergyman (including clerks in minor orders) living with others in a clergy-house (claustrum), or (in later times) in one of the houses in the precinct (close) of a cathedral or collegiate church, and ordering his life according to the canons or rules of the church. This practice of the canonica vita or canonical life began to prevail in the 8° c.; in the 11° c. it was, in some churches, reformed by the adoption of a rule (based on a practice mentioned by St. Augustine) that clergymen so living together should renounce private property; those who embraced this rule were known as Augustinian (Austin) or regular, the other were secular canons.
From the 'regular' canons, came in the 12° c. those who followed the still stricter rule of Norbert of Premontré, thence called Premonstratensian Canons. These two groups of 'canons regular' were distinguished by the colour of their habits as Black Canons and White Canons. As these vied, in strictness of living, the difference between a canon regular and a monk, became in the later Middle Ages (as now in the RCC) so slight that the one is often confounded with the other. [OED]
cf religious
cf minor canon
cantator (female~trice)
a professional singer [OED]
cantor
J the Jewish religious official who leads the musical part of a service.
the person who leads a church choir or congregarion in singing. A precentor
capellanus
see chaplain
carabineer, carabinier
mil. a soldier armed with a carbine (a lightweight rifle with a short barrel)
card sharp
a professional card player who makes a living by cheating at card games.
carder
[L. carduus = a thistle] a cloth-worker who untangles shorter fibers with a wire brush or similar instrument prior to spinning as a step in cloth-making, a/k/a scribbler.
castellan
a governor of, or holder of, a castle.
castrato (pl. ~i)
hist a male singer castrated in childhood to preserve his soprano or alto voice range.
cat's paw
a person used a a dupe or tool by another.
catamite
slang a boy or youth who is in a sexual relationship with a man.
catchpole
a sheriff's officer, esp one who arrests debtors. [AHD]
catechist
eccl one who instructs catechumens.
catechumen
eccl one who is being instructed in basic principles, esp of Christianity. [AHD]
cater, caterer
one who supplies provisions for a household, club, etc.
one who provide the viands at an entertainment, fęte, etc.
the earlier form, cater now obsolete. cf acater [OED]
caulker
one who filled up cracks or seams (e.g. in windows or ships' hulls) to make them watertight by using tar or oakum (=hemp fiber produced by taking apart old ropes).
cavalier
a Royalist supporter of Charles I during the English Civil War, opposed to the Parliamentarian supporters of Cromwell.
cavalryman
a soldier of a cavalry regiment, i.e. on horseback or in armored vehicles.
celebrity
a famous person.
celibate
one who abstains from sexual intercourse, esp. by reason of religious vows.
one who is unmarried.
cellarer
a person, as in a monastic community, responsible for maintaining the supply of food and drink.
censor
a person authorized to examine works (books, films, etc.) to remove or suppress what is considered objectionable.
mil an official, as in the armed forces, who examines personal mail and dispatches to expunge material considered secret
chainman Also: ~-carrier
a surveyor or surveyor's helper (=From the use of a surveyor's chain in measuring lengths; A Gunter or U.S. Survey chain is 66 feet long and has 100 links; One chain= 22 yards, or 4 rods; There are 10 chains per furlong, and 80 chains per mile; Invented by Edmund Gunter [1581-1626]. A Ramden chain, 100 feet long with 100 links, is used in engineering.)
one of two persons holding the ends of a surveyor's chain.
chaisemaker
a carriage maker
chamberlain
nob dom the manager of the household of a sovereign or great noble.
originally in charge of the King's bedchamber and wardrobe, he also took charge of all personal staff including personal grooms and lords in waiting. Other duties included organizing ceremonies (including religious ones) and local travels, such as to the theater. [DOT] cf Lord Chamberlain of the Household Lord Great Chamberlain of England
chambermaid
a housemaid, esp. at a hotel
chancellor
civ. a high official
head of government in some European countries; 
president of a chancery (equity) court.
chandler
Chief of the chandlery (=originally the office in a medieval household responsible for wax and candles, as well as the room in which the candles were kept. The office was subordinated to the kitchen, and only existed as a separate office in larger households. Whether a separate office or not, the function was naturally an important one, in a time before electric light, and when production of candles was often done privately. It was closely connected with other offices of the household, such as the ewery and the scullery. With this use, the term is largely obsolete today but can refer to a candle business. As such, a chandler is a person who sells candles.) [WIKI]
a dealer or trader
one who makes or sells candles
a retailer of groceries, ship supplier
chaperon
a person, esp an older or married woman, who accompanies a young unmarried woman in public
an older person who attends and supervises a social gathering of young people
a guide or companion whose function is to ensure propriety or to restrict activity [AHD]
chaplain
a clergyman attached to a private chapel, institution, ship, regiment, etc.
chapman
Brit a peddler, esp of chapbooks (=small books or pamphlets containing poems, ballads, stories or religious tracts)
chargé d'affaires
dipl a diplomat who temporarily assumes the responsibilities of an absent ambassador or minister.
dipl a diplomat of the lowest rank, accredited by one government to the minister of foreign affairs of another.
chartulary
a keeper of the archives; one who had charge of keeping records.
cheapjack
a peddler or dealer of cheap goods.
chevalier
Fr. [= horseman] A member of certain orders of knighthood, and of modern French orders, as the Legion of Honor
hist. a knight
Eng. hist. the title of James and Charles Stuart, pretenders to the English throne
chiffonnier
a wig maker
chimney sweep
a person employed to remove soot from chimney flues to reduce the fire hazard. a/k/a "sweep"
chimney viewer
civ an officer of the town appointed to inspect chimneys to insure that owners obeyed the law regarding regular cleaning thereof.
chirurgeon /literally, 'hand work'/
a doctor or surgeon
choirboy (female~girl)
see chorister
chorister
a singer in a choir (=an organized company of singers), esp. a choirboy or choirgirl
a leader of a choir
chronicler
a writer or compiler of a chronicle; a recorder of events.
-cide
denotes a person who has killed another, as homicide (a man, or simply any person), regicide (a king or queen), uxoricide (his wife), genocide (a people)
clericus
see clerk
clerk, clark
a person employed to keep records or accounts
clerk, cleric
a person employed to keep records or accounts
eccl. a clergyman
clicker
the servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers by clicking a noisemaker;
printing one who received the matter in the galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form ready for printing;
one who made eyelet holes in boots using a machine which made a clicking sound.
Steps in the making of cloth
  1. sorting
  2. scouring
  3. blending
  4. picking
  5. carding, combing
  6. spinning, twisting, winding
  7. weaving
  8. mending, shearing
  9. finishing
  10. fulling
  11. drying, tentering
[CHC]
Related terms:
brogger, burler, calendering, clothier, dyer, fustian cutter, mercer, napper, tucker, ullnager, yeoman clothier
cloth-worker (=clothier)
clothier
one who makes or sells cloth or clothing. [AHD]
one employed in one of the many tasks and trades in the cloth-making industry.
coadjutor
eccl an assistant to a bishop in the RC or Anglican churches, esp. one who is designated to succeed the current diocesan bishop.
coadjutor bishop 
eccl a coadjutor who is already a bishop.
cobbler
one who mends shoes, esp as a trade. cf shoemaker and cordwainer, both of whom make shoes. (=Cobblers were often prohibited from making shoes.)
cognate
a different form of a name, esp in another language (e.g. Joseph:Jose).
a blood relation; kin.
Cohen sp: also Kohen; pl. Cohanim, Kohanim
H eccl a priest, esp a Jewish priest.
A direct male descendant of the Biblical Aaron, brother of Moses.
collier
a coal miner.
colporteur
a book peddler, esp one selling Bibles and religious writings.
comber
one who combs longer fibers in the making of cloth, cf carder
commandant
mil. commanding officer of a military organization, e.g. the US Military Academy at West Point, NY
commander
nav. the master of a ship
commando
mil a unit of amphibious shock troops; a member of such a unit.
mil a party of men called out for military service; a body of troops
commis /kómee/
Brit a junior waiter or chef
commissar
hist an official of the former Soviet Communist party responsible for political education and organization.
the head of a government department in the former USSR before 1946
commissioner
civ a person appointed by a commission to perform a specific task, e.g. a minicipal police commissioner, etc.
civ a person appointed as a member of a government commission, e.g. Civil Service Commissioner
civ a representative of the supreme authority in a district, department, etc.
commissioner, railroad
an appointee of a town or other locality to oversee the sale of bonds to help finance construction of a railroad in return for a promise regarding the route it was to take. Mid-to-late 1800's. A position of responsibility and trust. [Thanks to Steve Dellbert, NYDELAWA-L mail list]
commodore
nav a naval officer above a captain and below a rear admiral.
nav a commander of a squadron or other division of a fleet of ships.
the president of a yacht club.
naut the senior captain of a shipping line.
commoner
one of the common people, as opposed to the aristocracy.
a person who has the right of common.
Brit a student at a university without a scholarship; a pensioner; a gentleman commoner;
cf scholar
cf sizar
companion
a person who accompanies, associated with, or shares with another.
dom a person, esp an unmarried or widowed woman, employed to live with and assist another.
Companion 
a member of the lowest order of some orders of knighthood; (e.g. Companion of the Bath)
con man
originally(=conder)
nowadays =confidence man: a person who swindles by means of deception or fraud. Also: con artist (or: grifter scammer sharper sharpie sharpy chiseller swindler)
concertmaster
music the musician who is the leader of the 1st violins.
concierge
F an employee who lives on the premises of apartment buildings and serves as a general caretaker.
hist an officer of the King who was charged with administering justice, with the help of his bailifs.
in a hotel, a concierge helps guests with various minor tasks like making restaurant reservations, procuring tickets, etc. "A concierge is often expected to 'achieve the impossible,' dealing with any request a guest may have, no matter how apocryphal or strange, relying on an extensive list of personal contacts with various local merchants and service providers." [WIKI]
conder
naut one who steers the boat, or gives directions for this. (con=To direct the steering or course of (a vessel).)
conductor (female~ress)
one who directs the perfomance of an orchestra, choir, etc.
an official in charge of a train; one who collects fares on a bus, train, etc.
a guide or leader
a manager or director
confectioner
one who makes confections, candies, sweetmeats, cakes, light pastries, etc.
a compounder of medicines, poisons, etc.
nowadays a candy-maker, esp. for sale at retail.
congressman (female~woman)
civ a legislator who is a member of the U.S. Congress, especially of the House of Representatives.
constable
civ the chief officer of a community, appointed to keep the peace and act as marshal of the early militia; responsible for the village or parish "Watch and Ward". (=the Watch at night and the Ward during the day)
controller
one who keeps a counter-roll so as to check a treasurer or person in charge of accounts.
a customs-officer, douanier
cook
dom one who prepares food for eating, in a restaurant or similar business, or as a member of household staff.
cooper
one who makes or repairs vessels made of staves and hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
copy boy (female~ girl)
a person employed by a newspaper or broadcast news office to carry copy and run errands.
copyholder
an assistant who reads manuscript aloud to a proofreader. [AHD]
copyreader
one who edits and corrects newspaper copy for publication. [AHD]
cordwainer
a shoemaker; originally any leather worker using leather from Córdoba, Spain. See cobbler, shoemaker

For an excellent dissertation on the meanings of the words cordwainer, cobbler, and shoemaker see this page http://www.thehcc.org/backgrnd.htm on the site of the Honorable Cordwainers’ Company.

cordwinder
a rope maker
cornet
Brit. hist the fifth commissioned officer in a cavalry troop, who carried the colors.
corporal
mil. a non-commissioned officer, ranking just below sergeant
costermonger
a peddler of fruits and vegetables in the streets from a barrow.
cottager
a peasant of the lower class, with a cottage, but little or no land.
cottar Also: cottager
Brit Hist an unfree peasant with fewer lands than a villan. [DOME]
count
the continental equivalent of the English Earl
cousin-german Also: german cousin
the son or daughter of one's uncle or aunt; one's first cousin.
crier
an officer who makes announcements in a court
hist. an officer employed by a town council. etc., to make public announcements in the streets or the marketplace
a town crier. Before newspapers became common, news, public announcements and proclamations were made by the town crier who walked through the town ringing a bell and reading the news. [CHC]
crocker (=potter)
crowner
civ., corrupted form a coroner
culdee
a religous ascetic
Irish/Scottish preserver of old Gaelic customs
curate
eccl a non-hierarchical designation for any churchman entrusted with the "cure of souls", i.e. the spiritual aspects of church business, usually as an assistant to the parish priest.
archaic an ecclesiastical pastor
currier
one who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb
one who tans leather by incorporating oil or grease
custodian
person responsible for collecting revenues, and accountable for their safe-keeping
cutpurse
a thief in medieval times who robbed by cutting the strings by which a purse was held to one's belt

Jump to: CA CE CH CI CL CO CR CU
TOP A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z BOT

Services

visitors /~dav4is/Sources/Occ.C.htm
Uploaded: 2014-12-07 07:41 
data errors | external links | FAQ | Sources help
site help
Colophon description
-fin-
© 1998, 2014
Roderic A. Davis, 2nd
All Rights Reserved
Email: Rod Dav4is
 dav4is @ YAHOO.com
Snail:
 Genealogy, et Cetera
 c/o Rod Davis
 P.O. Box 118
 Hyde Park, NY 12538
 USA
Search this site:

 
[HOME]
[INDEX]
(to this folder)

[TOP]
(of this webpage)
Monitor page
for changes

it's private
powered by
ChangeDetection