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What's up with these weird words?!

posted Sep 24, 2016, 7:47 PM by Claire Knudsen-Latta   [ updated Oct 25, 2016, 11:10 AM ]
An attempt has been made to use terms that reflect the language of late fourteenth and early fifteenth century England, a time and place which saw a flowering of the craft guild system. To balance this attempt with the modern reality of spelling, we've used the modern forms of the words.

Company - From the Middle English, an adaptation of the Old French compa(i)gnie.  It also appears as cǒmpaignīe, compainiecompaniecompagnie, compenie and cumpai(g)nie. It is defined by the University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary as "a professional group, such as a trade guild or an ecclesiastical body".

Scrivener - from the Middle English, an adaption from the Old French escrivain/escrivein, and Anglo-French escriven/escrivin. Defined by the University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary as "[a] professional scribe, copyist, scrivener; also, an official who records accounts, a clerk".

Limner - from the Middle English, an adaption of the Anglo-French lymnour and appearing also as limnǒur limnor(e), liminour, limenour, and leminer.  Defined by the University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary as "[a]n illuminator of manuscripts; also, a member of a gild of illuminators".

Guild Master - from Middle English, an adaption of the Old French maistre and Old English magister.  It appears also as maistere, maistr(e, meister, meistre, mester, mestre, mesteir, and (early) maȝstre. Defined by the University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary as "one in charge of a guild, college, etc." Guild likewise comes from the Middle English and is an adaptation of the Old English gyld.  UM's Middle English Dictionary defines it as "an association of craftsmen or tradesmen, a craft guild."  Guild Master was used instead of "Master" to avoid confusion with the SCA's traditional title system.  "Company Master" was rejected for being too weird to the ear. 

Warden - from Middle English, an adaptation of the Old Northern French wardain.  It appears also as wardeinewardain(ewardeinwardan(ewardinwerdein, and whardein.  It is defined in University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary as "An officer of a craft or mercantile guild, in charge of inspecting the workmanship and materials of goods, enforcing regulations, overseeing transactions, etc.; also, an administrative officer of a religious society or fraternal organization"

Beadle - from Middle English, an evolution from the Old English bydel.  It also appears as budel, bidel, beodel, bedel, and (late) bēdel. It is defined in University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary as "One who makes announcements or carries messages and performs other services on the authority of a lord, court, guild, etc."

Fellow - from Middle English, from the Old Norse/Old Icelandic fe-lagi.  It also appears as fē̆lau(e, felaghe, felauȝe, velaȝe, feloȝe, felou(e, feolah(e, fel(l)a, fel(l)o, fellu, and fel(l)e. It is defined in University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary as "A member of an organized group of associates, esp. of equals under a master or leader".

Want to learn more?  Check out the University of Michigan's Middle English Dictionary!