Online Encyclopedia

SMITH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 273 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SMITH, a worker in metals. The O. Eng. smid, Du. smid, Ger. Schmied, &c., are from an obsolete Teut. verb smeithan, to forge. The root is seen in Gr. o sLXtl, a graver's tool. It is apparently not connected with " smooth," where an original in has been lost. There is no foundation for the old etymological guess which identifies " smith " with " to smite, " as the one who smites or beats iron. When used without such qualification as appears in " goldsmith," " silversmith," &c., the term means a worker in iron, especially as indicating a " blacksmith," one who forges iron, as opposed to " whitesmith," the finisher and polisher of iron, or " tinsmith," a worker in tin. The word has originated one of the commonest of English surnames, sometimes taking various archaic forms (Smyth, Smythe, Smigth, &c.; also German Schmidt).
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