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

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new = Recent changes
as of 2014-05-04
saboteur
F one who commits sabotage, i.e. causes deliberate damage to productive capacity, esp. as a political act. (=After French textile workers who wrecked machinery by tossing their wooden shoes (sabots) into the works.) cf Luddites
sacrist
eccl the official charged with the custody and care of sacred vessels, relics vestments, etc. (=in English cathedrals, the sacrist, or sacristan, is always in orders, often a minor canon)
sacristan (female~tine)
eccl, obs the sexton of a parish church.
(=sacrist)
in a nunnery, a nun charged with a function corresponding to that of a sacristan.
saddler
one who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses
sahib
obs Hindi polite form of address for a European man in colonial India.
cf bwana
Sailing Master
nav. an early rank just below Lieutenant, evolved to Master, then to Warrant Officer.
salutatorian
the student with the second highest academic rank in a class, who customarily delivers the salutatory (=an opening or welcoming statement or address) at graduation excercises.
cf valedictorian
salvor
a taster, esp. as employed by royal or noble clients as insurance against poisoning
san
a courtesy title in Japanese-speaking areas as a suffix to a given name, surname or title, regardless of gender, as angin-san, sensei-san. How to use Japanese suffixes
Sandemanian
member of a religious sect formed by Robert Sandeman (1718-71) from the Glassites. [OED]
sandesman, sandaroon
obs a messenger, envoy, ambassador. (=Middle English, "sendman")
sandman
a character of fairy tales and folklore who caused children to sleep by sprinkling sand in their eyes.
sandwich man
a person who pickets or advertises by going about carrying a sandwich board. (=two large boards hinged at the top with straps for hanging from the shoulders, and bearing advertisements or the like)
sans-culotte
(=without breeches).
Fr an extreme radical republican during the French Revolution.
any revolutionary extremist.
sapper
one who digs saps (=tunnels or trenches, esp. in a military context)
a military demolitions expert
satrap
civ a subordinate bureaucrat or official.
a provincial governor in ancient Persia; a ruler.
saucerer
Chief of the saucery. (=the office in a medieval household responsible for sauces, as well as the room in which the preparation of sauces took place. The office was subordinated to the kitchen, and existed as a separate office only in larger households. It was closely connected with other offices of the kitchen, such as the spicery and the scullery. The term is largely obsolete today.) [WIKI]
sawbones
a physician, esp. a surgeon specializing in amputations
sawyer
one who saws, e.g. a carpenter
a sawmill owner, operator or worker
scalder
Chief of the scalding house. (=A scalding house was the office in a medieval household responsible for scalding the carcasses of animals, as well as utensils. It was also the room in which this activity took place. The office was subordinated to the kitchen, and existed as a separate office only in larger households. It was closely connected with other offices of the kitchen, such as the saucery and the scullery.) [WIKI]
scapegoat
one made to bear the blame, fault, sins or others
scaramouch
hist. a lazy, swaggering coward
Scaramouch, Scaramouche 
a stock character in commedia dell'arte and pantomime, depicted as a boastful coward or buffoon.
schepen sp: pl. schepenen
Du the equivalent in English is an alderman. The position of schepenen can roughly be compared to the position of ministers in a national goverment. The task of a schepen is to assist the mayor in the governing of the city, in certain specified areas. [WIKI]
scholar
a learned person, esp. in language, literature, etc.; an academic
Brit a university student who holds a scholarship;
cf commoner
schout
Du. civ the chief official of a town, similar to sheriff (common in NY and Long Island, due to Dutch influence).
schumacker
Du. a shoemaker
scold
one who persistently nags or criticizes.
scoundrel
an unscrupulous villian; a rogue.
scourer
one who cleans wool, cloth, clothes, etc. [OED]
a cleaner of raw wool as a first step in cloth-making, a process similar to fulling
scribbler Also: scribler
joc. a minor or worthless author;
one who scribbles (cards) fibers, a carder
scrivener
a professional or public copyist or writer;
notary public
scrutator Also: scrutineer
one whose office it is to examine or investigate closely, esp votes in an election.
a title of a university official.
scrutiner
civ an election judge.
scryer Also: scrier
one who scries; a crystal-gazer. (scry=to divine the future (or the secrets of the past or present) by images or reflections in crystals, water, mirrors, etc.)
scuffle-hunter
one who frequents the wharfage on the pretense of seeking employment, but with the chief object of pillage and plunder of whatever comes their way.
scullion
dom a domestic servant of the lowest rank, who performed the menial offices of the kitchen.
sealer
civ an official charged to inspect and validate something.
~ of leather 
civ an appointed official whose job it was to insure that leather produced in the town was properly tanned, and of the stated quality.
~ of weights and measures 
civ an officer appointed by the town to certify the accuracy of all weights and measures used, and to mark same with a seal.
segador
obs a reaper, a mower, a harvest-man. [OED]
segstar
Sc. obs. (=sexton)
senator
civ a legislator; a member of a senate (=an assembly or a council of citizens having the highest deliberative and legislative functions in a government.) (The term Magistrate was usual during the early years, but the title Assistant came soon into use and was employed until 1818, when the title Senator was substituted for it. [Jacobus])
seneschal
Dom the steward or majordomo of a medieval estate
Dom an official of the household of a sovereign or great noble, to whom the administration of justice and entire control of domestic arrangements were entrusted. [OED]
a cathedral official in England.
civ the title of a governor of a city or province, and of various administrative or judicial officers. Now only hist except with reference to the [British] Channel Islands. [OED]
serf
a common villager or village peasant of any of the feudal classes lower in rank than the thane, or a peasant slave - of a feudal lord - who is free in his legal relations with others. [CHC]
a member of a servile, feudal class of people in Europe, bound to the land and owned by a lord.
a person in servitude
cf bondman
sergeant major
mil. originally (16° c. & earlier) an officer, 2° or 3° in command of a regiment or similar unit (= major).
nowadays an NCO (=noncommissioned officer)
sergeant-at-arms
an official of a court, city or legislature
sergeant-at-law Also: serjeant-at-law, serjeants-at-law
Brit hist a barrister of the highest rank.
sermonist Also: sermoner
one who makes, writes or delivers sermons.
servant
one privately employed to perform domestic service
one publicly employed to perform services, as for a government
one who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another: (e.g. your obedient ~)
cf: amah, attendant, au pair, ayah, bondman, boots, boy, butler, chambermaid, char, charlady, charwoman, chauffeur, chef, cleaner, cleaning man/woman/lady, coachman, cook, daily, dogsbody, domestic, driver, drudge, dustman, factotum, footman, gentleman's gentleman, governess, groom, handyman, help, houseboy, housekeeper, housemaid, houseman, lackey, lady's maid, maid, maidservant, majordomo, man, manservant, menial, nanny, nurse, nursemaid, page, parlormaid, postilion, retainer, scullion, seneschal, serving man, servitor, sommelier, steward, valet, waiter
server
one who serves food and drink, as at a restaurant
eccl an attendant to the celebrant at Mass
sports the player who serves, as in court games (e.g. tennis)
sexton (female~ess)
a church officer who looks after the fabric of a church and its contents, often also acting as bell ringer and gravedigger.
obs the Pope's sacristan
sharecropper
a tenant farmer who gives a share of the crops raised to the landlord in lieu of rent.
sharman see shearman
sharper
one who deals dishonestly with others, esp a cheating gambler; a card sharp.
shearman
Brit a shearer of nap from (esp. woolen) cloth
sheriff
civ an elected officer in a county, responsible for keeping the peace.
civ an honorary officer elected annually in some towns.
Brit civ the royal office of a shire, managing its judicial and financial affairs
High Sheriff 
Brit the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county, administering justice, etc.
shill
a person employed to decoy or entice others into buying, gambling, etc.
shoeblack (=bootblack)
shoemaker
one who makes shoes and other footwear. cf cordwainer, cobbler
shrew
a woman with a violent, scolding, or nagging temperament; a scold.
shrieve
civ. a sheriff
Shylock
a hard-hearted moneylender; a miser (Shylock=a character in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice)
shyster
a person, esp a lawyer, who uses unscrupulous methods
sidekick
coll a close associate
sin-eater chg
The term sin-eater refers to a person who, through ritual means, would take on by means of food and drink the sins of a household, often because of a recent death, thus absolving the soul and allowing that person to rest in peace. In anthropology, and the study of folklore, sin-eating is classified as apotropaic ritual and a form of religious magic. [WIKI]
singing-man
one engaged to sing in an ecclesiastical choir
cf chorister
sizar
Brit in medieval times, a poor student who paid his way at college by taking on menial domestic chores.
cf scholar
slater
a roofer (=from the use of slate as roofing material)
slave
a person who is the legal property of another or others, and is bound to absolute obedience; a human chattel.
a helpless victim of some dominating influence, e.g. (e.g. a slave of fashion)
cf bondman
Brit Hist one who was the property of his or her lord and had no lands. [DOME]
slave driver 
an overseer of slaves at work
a person who works others especially hard
slave trader 
hist a person engaged in the procuring, transport or selling of human beings, esp African blacks, as slaves.
slaver 
a ship engaged in the slave trade and, metaphorically, a sailor employed on one.
slopseller
Brit. a seller of ready-made clothes in a slop (=ready-made or cheap clothing) shop
smelter
one who smelts; a workman engaged in smelting; also, an owner of a smelting-works.
one who fishes for smelts; a smelt-catcher (smelt=a small fish, related to salmon.) [OED]
smith
a metal worker, as tinsmith, goldsmith, etc.
one who forges iron, a blacksmith
cf whitesmith, greensmith, redsmith
smockster
a go-between, a bawd. [OED]
smug
obs a blacksmith. [OED]
smuggler Also: smuckellor, smuckler
one who smuggles commodities, esp one who makes a trade of the practice of smuggling. (=to convey (goods) clandestinely into (or out of) a country or district, in order to avoid payment of legal duties, or in contravention of some enactment.)
a vessel employed in smuggling [OED]
snob[scat]
one who repaired shoes. cf cobbler
sokeman
Brit Hist a freeman who nevertheless had to attend his lord’s court. [DOME]
soldier
one who serves in the army.
an enlisted person or a noncommissioned officer.
an active, loyal, or militant follower of a leader or an organization.
solicitor
the chief law officer of a city, county, etc.
Brit a member of the legal profession qualified to deal with conveyancing, drawing up wills, etc., and to advise clients and instruct barristers.
Solicitor General
US the law office just below Attorney General
UK the Crown law officer below the Attorney General or (Scotland) below the Lord Advocate.
sorter
a tailor.
one who arranges goods in any trade.
a cloth-worker who grades the raw fibers. cf wool stapler
sour-dough
one who has spent one or more winters in Alaska (=after the practice of using a piece of sour dough to leaven bread baked during the winter)
loosely, any prospector
soverign
a supreme ruler, esp a monarch.
spicer
Chief of the spicery.
spinner (female~ster)
one who spins: (=a stage in cloth-making where the fibers and slivers of wool were drawn out, twisted, and spun into yarn. This was done with a distaff and spindle from the earliest times, and was replaced by the spinning wheel - or hand-wheel - in the 14° century. The task was often done by women and children.)
spinster
a woman (or, rarely, a man) who spins, esp as a regular occupation.
an unmarried woman (or, rarely, a man).
a term appended to the names of women, originally to denote their occupation, but subsequently (from the 17th century) as the proper legal designation for one unmarried. [OED]
spurrer
a maker of spurs
squire
a country gentleman, a farm owner
a justice of the peace
hist. a knight's attendant, of higher rank than a page
Brit. colloq. a jocular form of address to a man
squire of the body
In feudal times, the squire of the body was responsible for carrying his lord's arms and also assisted his lord in donning his armour. By Tudor times, the position was that of a close attendant to the King. [WIKI]
stableman (female~woman)
a person employed in a stable; a groom.
stalking-horse
A person whose agency or participation in a proceeding is used to conceal its true purpose or design. [OED]
stall
a pickpocket's accomplice, whose job it was to distract the attention of the victim while the dip rifled his pockets.
stallenger
A stall-keeper; a petty trader who paid to the burgh a small sum for the privilege of setting up his stall in a fair or market.
A person not a freeman who paid a small sum to the corporation for the privilege of carrying on his business for one year.
staller
Nor. The title of a Norwegian court officer from the 10th c. [ON stallari]
The title of a high officer in the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-66).
Used vaguely for officer.
stationer
a dealer in writing materials, etc.
steersman (=pilot)
-ster /stər/
suffix denoting a person engaged in or associated with a particular activity or thing ((e.g. gang~), (e.g. young~)); often with the additional connotation of gender: cf spinner, spinster.
stevedore
naut a person employed in the loading and unloading of ships. (=from steeve, which is a long spar used in stowing cargo)
steward (female-ess)
a passengers' attendant on board a ship, aircraft or train
an official appointed to keep order or supervise arrangements at a meeting, show, demonstration, etc.
a person responsible for the supply of food, etc. for a college or club, etc.
a person appointed to manage another's property
Brit. the title of several officers of the government or the royal household, e.g. Lord High Steward
strumpet
a prostitute
stuff gown[sman]
a junior barrister
sub-captain
nav a master of a ship
subaltern
Brit Mil an officer below the rank of captain, esp a second lieutenant.
supercargo Also: supra~
naut. the officer on a merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the commercial concerns of the ship.
surveyor
a person who surveys land and buildings, esp professionally (=to examine the condition of (a building), or to ascertain the boundaries, extent, ownership (of land))
cf chainman
Surveyor of the King's Works Also: Surveyor-General ~
the person appointed to be responsibile for the upkeep and repair of all the Royal Palaces, excluding Greenwich and Windsor, and in charge of planning and building royal architectural projects throughout the realm. This post carried prestige and a reasonable salary, but also required an enormous degree of day-to-day administration. The post came with a house in Whitehall and a set of offices attached. Past holders have included the famous architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren.
sweep (=chimney sweep)

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