Entries linking to wordsmith
Old English word "speech, talk, utterance, sentence, statement, news, report, word," from Proto-Germanic *wurda- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian word, Dutch woord, Old High German, German wort, Old Norse orð, Gothic waurd), from PIE *were- (3) "speak, say" (see verb).
The meaning "promise" was in Old English, as was the theological sense. In the plural, the meaning "verbal altercation" (as in have words with someone) dates from mid-15c. Word-processor first recorded 1971; word-processing is from 1972; word-wrap is from 1977. A word to the wise is from Latin phrase verbum sapienti satis est "a word to the wise is enough." Word-for-word "in the exact word or terms" is late 14c. Word of mouth "spoken words, oral communication" (as distinguished from written words) is by 1550s.
It is dangerous to leave written that which is badly written. A chance word, upon paper, may destroy the world. Watch carefully and erase, while the power is still yours, I say to myself, for all that is put down, once it escapes, may rot its way into a thousand minds, the corn become a black smut, and all libraries, of necessity, be burned to the ground as a consequence. [William Carlos Williams, "Paterson"]
Middle English smith, from Old English smið "blacksmith, armorer, one who works in metal" (jewelers as well as blacksmiths), more broadly, "handicraftsman, practitioner of skilled manual arts" (also including carpenters), from Proto-Germanic *smithaz "skilled worker" (source also of Old Saxon smith, Old Norse smiðr, Danish smed, Old Frisian smith, Old High German smid, German Schmied, Gothic -smiþa, in aiza-smiþa "coppersmith"), from a suffixed form of PIE root *smi- "to cut, work with a sharp instrument" (source also of Greek smilē "knife for cutting and carving, chisel").
Attested as a surname by c. 975. Also used in a Middle English psalter of God, when he created light. Other common surnames meaning "smith" include Ferraro (Italian), Haddad (Arabic), Kovács (Hungarian, a Slavic loan-word), Kowalski (Polish), Herrero (Spanish), Kuznets (Russian), MacGowan (Irish, "son of the blacksmith").
updated on April 10, 2014