Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Jobs in the past

alderman

noun

in the past, a male politician who was a senior member of a town council in England or Wales

alderwoman

noun

in the past, a female politician who was a senior member of a town council in England or Wales

apothecary

noun

an old word for someone whose job was to prepare and sell medicines

barrow boy

noun

in the past, a boy or man whose job was to sell fruit and vegetables from a barrow

cabin boy

noun

a boy who worked on a ship as a servant in the past

chronicler

noun

a writer of history, especially in the past

eunuch

noun

a man whose testicles have been removed, especially, in the past, a man whose job was guarding women in a harem

fool

noun

a man in the past whose job was to entertain a king, queen, or other important person by making them laugh

governess

noun

a woman whose job was to look after and teach her employer’s children in their home, especially in the past

innkeeper

noun

an old word for someone whose job was to manage an inn

jester

noun

someone in the past whose job was to entertain an important person by saying and doing funny things

page

noun

a boy whose job was to be the servant of someone of a high social class in the past

parlourmaid

noun

a woman servant in a large house in the past whose job included serving meals

press gang

noun

in the past, a group of men whose job was to force other men to join the armed forces

scribe

noun

someone whose job was to copy documents and books before printing was invented

steward

noun

someone whose job was to look after a house or land for someone else in the past

swineherd

noun

an old word for someone whose job was to look after pigs

tinker

noun

in the past, a man who travelled from place to place repairing metal objects such as pans

town clerk

noun

in the past, someone whose job was to keep the official records of a town or to give legal advice to the people living there

town crier

noun

someone whose job in the past was to walk around a town shouting news and important announcements

tribune

noun

a government official in ancient Rome whose job was to protect the rights of ordinary people

washerwoman

noun

a woman in the past whose job was to wash other people’s clothes

wheelwright

noun

someone in the past whose job was to make or repair wooden wheels

food rave

a very large party where people eat, sell or share many different types of food, usually held outside or in a large public building

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day

clapped-out

old and in bad condition, or no longer effective

Open Dictionary

dead white (European) male

a man … whose achievements may have been overestimated because he belonged to the gender and ethnic group … that was dominant at the time

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog