Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A professional copyist; a scribe: "Gutenberg's invention of movable type . . . took words out of the sole possession of monastic scriveners and placed them before the wider public” ( Irvin Molotsky).
  • n. A notary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A professional writer; one whose occupation is to draw contracts or prepare writings.
  • n. One whose business is to place money at interest; a broker.
  • n. A writing master.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A professional writer; one whose occupation is to draw contracts or prepare writings.
  • n. One whose business is to place money at interest; a broker.
  • n. A writing master.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A writer: especially, a public writer; a notary; specifically, one whose occupation is the drawing of contracts or other writings.
  • n. One whose business it is to receive money and place it out at interest, and supply those who want to raise money on security; a money-broker; a financial agent.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone employed to make written copies of documents and manuscripts

Etymologies

Middle English scriveiner, from scrivein, from Old French escrivein, from Vulgar Latin *scrība, scrībān-, from Latin scrība, scribe; see scribe.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Yesterday's term was scrivener, which is defined as:

    Define That Term #29

  • A scrivener is a public copyist, but that noun has fallen into disuse except among notaries public; a scribe, once “a copyist of biblical texts,” is now used jocularly to mean “journalist,” and a scribbler is a put-down of a writer.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • John Milton was the son of a London scrivener, that is, a kind of lawyer.

    English Literature for Boys and Girls

  • He was by business what was then called a scrivener, a term which has received judicial interpretation, and imported a person who arranged loans on mortgage, receiving a commission for so doing.

    Obiter Dicta Second Series

  • A scrivener was a kind of cross between an attorney and a law stationer, whose principal business was the preparation of deeds, “to be well and truly done after my learning, skill, and science,” and with due regard to the interests of more exalted personages.

    Life of John Milton

  • A scrivener was a kind of cross between an attorney and a law stationer, whose principal business was the preparation of deeds, "to be well and truly done after my learning, skill, and science," and with due regard to the interests of more exalted personages.

    Life of John Milton

  • What I saw that morning persuaded me that the scrivener was the victim of innate and incurable disorder.

    Bartleby

  • I saw that morning persuaded me that the scrivener was the victim of innate and incurable disorder.

    The Piazza Tales

  • a scrivener, that is, as something like a modern solicitor, and prospered so much that by 1632 he was able to retire and live in the country.

    Milton

  • Originally the word scribe meant "scrivener"; but rapidly it was accepted as a matter of course that the scribe who copies the Law knows the Law best, and is its most qualified expounder: accordingly the word came to mean more than it implies etymologically.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12: Philip II-Reuss

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Comments

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  • I would prefer not to.

    May 24, 2010

  • When I grow up I want to work in the dead letter office.

    May 24, 2010

  • Bartleby!!

    May 24, 2010

  • "...
    But in our amours amorists discern
    Such fluctuations that their scrivening
    Is breathless to attend each quirky turn
    ..."

    -Wallace Stevens, fr. Monocle de Mon Oncle

    May 24, 2010

  • Haha! Good one, c_b!

    Actually, we're referring to Bartleby the Scrivener's favorite response to being asked to do work: "I would prefer not to." You can read the story here. :-)

    April 15, 2008

  • Hint: Half a wine cooler.

    April 15, 2008

  • Scrivener? I barely know her!

    Is that the sentence you're referring to? Otherwise, I'm lost.

    April 15, 2008

  • The updated version I found most useful was to fix my boss with a piercing, slightly incredulous, stare and then ask: "Do you really think that would be the best use of my skillset?". Over the years, I estimated about a 90% success rate; though I was careful not to overuse it.

    April 15, 2008

  • A useful sentence; wouldn't you agree?

    April 14, 2008

  • Damn! reesetee beat me to it.

    April 14, 2008

  • I prefer not.

    February 25, 2007