The third of five profession related surnames words. For those who may
not belong to "Word.A.Day"
This week's theme: professions that exist mainly as surnames.
mercer (MUR-suhr) noun
A dealer in textiles, especially silk and other fine materials.
[From Old French mercier (trader), from Latin merx (goods). Words such
as market, merchant, commerce, and mercantile share the same origin.]
Then there is mercerization. To mercerize is to treat cotton thread or
fabric with caustic soda to enhance its strength and luster, and to increase
its affinity for dyes. The word is an eponym, coined after the calico printer
John Mercer (1791-1866) who patented it in 1850.
And calico -- a kind of cotton cloth printed with a pattern -- is a toponym,
coined after the city of Calicut in India. The city is now known as Kozhikode.
Today's word in Visual Thesaurus: http://visualthesaurus.com/?w1=mercer
-Anu Garg (gargATwordsmith.org
"The success of the mercers was symbolised by the ambience and animation
of their shops."
Daniel Roche; The Culture of Clothing; Cambridge University Press; 1996.
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