quatorze juillet

by Charlotte

It’s my birthday.  I’ve turned old.  Actually, I’ve turned frickin’ old.  There’s a difference—you’ll see when you get here.  Want to know a tell-tale sign of being old?  Grumpiness.  Since it is my birthday, I’m going to take full leave to be as grumpy as I please.  Just on one issue: sewer, sewist, seamstress, tailor, spy.

Sewist is not in the OED.  If it ain’t in the OED, it ain’t a word.  (Ain’t is in the OED, much to by displeasure.)  That doesn’t mean I don’t think you should use it.  It does mean that you are not permitted to claim that it is superior to sewer.  Yes, there are sue-ers and so-ers.  No disagreement there.  However, the word sewer is recognized as meaning “a person who sews” and has been in use for almost as long as the water circuitry meaning (noted as early as 1399 and 1299 CE, respectively).  

For context, the word seamstress only dates back to the 1600’s.  (Fun story: seamster and sewster are recognized terms, too!  Seamster goes back farther than any of these terms, to 995 CE.  Wow, that was only fun for me, wasn’t it?)

I was doing more sewing machine research (it never ends), and this discussion was happening in a Colette comment section.  Sigh.  Y’all, homographs, though confusing, do exist.

In any event, use whatever the heck word you want to.  Diversity is how we keep English alive and thriving and gorgeous.  Also, I’m thinking about getting a tattoo of a spool of thread with crossed scissors before it, like the Jolly Roger.  Sewer For Life, it would read.  What?  That’s an excellent idea.

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