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See more synonyms for amanuensis on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural a·man·u·en·ses [uh-man-yoo-en-seez] /əˌmæn yuˈɛn siz/.
  1. a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary.
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Origin of amanuensis

1610–20; < Latin (servus) āmanuēnsis, equivalent to ā- a-4 + manu-, stem of manus hand + -ēnsis -ensis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amanuenses

Historical Examples

  • My amanuenses, my copyists, in Washington, have cost me a mint of money.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 79, May, 1864


  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for amanuenses


noun plural -ses (-siːz)
  1. a person employed to take dictation or to copy manuscripts
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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

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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper