Re: The plot thickens - re: "fraudster"

Subject: Re: The plot thickens - re: "fraudster"
From: Geoff Lane <geoff -at- gjctech -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 14:47:28 +0000

On Monday, February 9, 2009, Ned Bedinger wrote;

>> Further to my previous post, I had a cursory look to see what Merriam
>> Webster on line has to say on the subject. Unbelievably (considering
>> that "fraudster" has no definition in the OED)

> Look at OED's "-ster" entry, alphabetically listed as an 's' word. This
> has been an English suffix since w-a-y back in Teutonic/Old English, and
> survived 'til today as a way to denote one who does something as an
> occupation, as opposed to one who occasionally does it (which would have
> been the -er suffix). These were feminine and masculine suffixes
> respectively, confusing the issue of occupation versus occasional , but
> anyway those distinctions seem to have faded out in modern English usage.

> , Webster has:
>>
>> Fraudster
>> chiefly British : a person who engages in fraud : cheat

> Dictionaries can be wrong, but maybe M-W is saying that American English
> never referred to occupations in earnest with -ster, while Britain's
> English has used or recognized it for fifteen centuries.
---

FWIW, I'd already pointed out that "-ster" is an Old English
construction that seems more common now in North America than in
England. I even suggested that the Puritans might have taken that
construction with them when they sailed from Plymouth Hoe! That said,
while some "-ster" words have found their way into the OED,
"fraudster" has not. Examples that have are "trickster" and "hipster".
The latter is defined as slang, which suggests that "fraudster" is not
even "officially" recognised as slang on the right side of the pond.

It seems to me that "-ster" is affectionate or derogatory (depending
on the context) rather than something to denote occupation. There are
a lot of occupation names formed by adding "-er" to the appropriate
term. For example, "builder", "plumber", "joiner", "fitter", "writer".
Some started that way but have morphed slightly. For example,
"sailor", "lawyer", and probably "contractor". In contrast, I can't
think of many non-nefarious occupations named with the "-ster"
construction (but I'm standing by for a deluge! ;-)

--
Geoff

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: I had say it because I was afraid no one else would.: From: Michael West
RE: I had say it because I was afraid no one else would.: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
The plot thickens - re: "fraudster": From: Geoff Lane
Re: The plot thickens - re: "fraudster": From: Ned Bedinger

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