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[uh-man-yoo-en-sis] /əˌmæn yuˈɛn sɪs/
noun, plural amanuenses
[uh-man-yoo-en-seez] /əˌmæn yuˈɛn siz/ (Show IPA)
a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary.
Origin of amanuensis
1610-20; < Latin (servus) āmanuēnsis, equivalent to ā- a-4 + manu-, stem of manus hand + -ēnsis -ensis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for amanuenses
Historical Examples
  • My amanuenses, my copyists, in Washington, have cost me a mint of money.

  • amanuenses were summoned, who took down those dying admonitions, and in the time of Tacitus they still were extant.

    Seekers after God Frederic William Farrar
  • Milton dictated that immortal poem, "Paradise Lost," his daughters being his amanuenses; but Milton was then blind.

    Genius in Sunshine and Shadow Maturin Murray Ballou
  • Beyond a question more writers than we ever dreamed are only amanuenses of the Astute Author.

    Is the Devil a Myth? C. F. Wimberly
  • He employed six amanuenses, not a large number of assistants for a task of such magnitude.

    Macaulay's Life of Samuel Johnson Thomas Babington Macaulay
  • amanuenses of sorts are one thing, ladies with private information about the peerage another.

    The Story of Louie Oliver Onions
  • When the expence of amanuenses and paper, and other articles are deducted, his clear profit was very inconsiderable.

    The Story of Doctor Johnson

    S. C. (Sydney Castle) Roberts
  • He handed me three letters, all from men who once were slaves, not written by them individually, but by amanuenses.

    The Boys of '61 Charles Carleton Coffin.
  • The custom of employing women as amanuenses has grown very largely of late years.

    Work for Women George J. Manson
  • Immediately below and flanking him on either hand sat two mute cowled figures to do the office of amanuenses.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for amanuenses


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
a person employed to take dictation or to copy manuscripts
Word Origin
C17: from Latin āmanuensis, from the phrase servus ā manū slave at hand (that is, handwriting)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amanuenses



"one who takes dictation," 1610s, from Latin amanuensis "adjective used as a noun," from servus a manu "secretary," literally "servant from the hand," from a "from" + manu, ablative of manus "hand" (see manual (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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