AskDefine | Define scrivener

Dictionary Definition

scrivener n : someone employed to make written copies of documents and manuscripts [syn: copyist, scribe]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /ˈskɹɪv.ɛn.ə(ɹ)/, /"skrIv.En.@(r)/


  1. A professional writer; one whose occupation is to draw contracts or prepare writings.
  2. One whose business is to place money at interest; a broker.
  3. A writing master.


''"Scrivener (enters with a paper in hand): Here is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings, Which in a set hand fairly in engrossed That is may be today read o'ver in Paul's. And mark how well the sequel hangs together: Eleven hours I have spent to write it over..."
-Shakespeare's Richard III 3.6''


Extensive Definition

A scrivener (or scribe) was traditionally a person who could read and write. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and history records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. Scriveners later developed into public servants, accountants, lawyers and petition writers, etc.
In Japan, the word is used to refer to legal professions such as judicial scriveners and administrative scriveners.
In the Irish language a "scriobhneoir" is a writer, or a person who writes. It has nearly the exact same pronunciation as the english word "scrivener". The English term may therefore derive from the Irish term.
In ancient times, a scrivener was also called a calligraphus (pl. calligraphi).
A scrivener is also someone who scribbles. See scribe.
A famous work of fiction featuring scriveners is the short story "Bartleby, the Scrivener" by Herman Melville, first published in 1853.
Scrivener can also refer to scrivener notaries, who get their name from the Scriveners' Company. Historically, scrivener notaries were the only notaries public permitted to practice in the City of London, the liberties of Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and the area within three miles of the City. Due to their geographical proximity to the embassies of many civil law countries, scrivener notaries are only appointed after five years articles to a practicing scrivener notary. Scrivener notaries must be fluent in one or two foreign languages and be familiar with the principles and practice of foreign law. The historical privilege of scrivener notaries was abolished by the Access to Justice Act 1999, since when any public notary may practice in the City of London and surrounding area.
The Scrivener is a quarterly publication put out by the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia, Canada.
scrivener in German: Schreiber
scrivener in Spanish: Escribano
scrivener in Galician: Escribán

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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