Anything Obscure & Eclectic
Metier

Métier

BEING THE FIRST ENTRY IN A BRIEF, FORTHCOMING SERIES ON EXPERTISE, THE AUTHOR EVIDENTLY FEELING A SLIGHT BIT SPECIALIZED THESE DAYS

n. — an occupation, profession, speciality
— in later use: an area of specific skill or ability; one’s forte

fm. pure unfiltered French, literally meaning job. The same root provides the English word mister, which also just meant occupation at first and evolved into a specialized craftsman—all of which can trace back to Latin and Anglo-Norman forms that deal in similarly defined words: master, minister, administrator, and magistrate.

first published. 1792

inspiration. a word I said in actual conversation the other day, which had me reflecting soon after on unlikelihood. How did it even come to mind? Where did I learn it?

The mostly likely answer: Chinatown (1974), one of the great film scripts. Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne puts the word in PI Jake Gittes’s mouth, though consulting at least one version the screenplay, page 49, you see it spelled phonetically.

Look, I do matrimonial work, It’s my metiay. When a wife tells me she’s happy her husband is cheating on her it runs contrary to my experience.

 

Metier

This entry was published on 18 April 2017 at 9:00 am. It’s filed under M and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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