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From Middle English carpenter, from Anglo-Norman carpenter (compare Old French charpentier), from Late Latin carpentārius (a carpenter), from Latin carpentārius (a wagon-maker, carriage-maker), from Latin carpentum (a two-wheeled carriage, coach, or chariot, a cart), from Gaulish carbantos, from Proto-Celtic *karbantos (chariot, war chariot), probably related to Proto-Celtic *karros (wagon). More at car.

Displaced native Old English trēowwyrhta (literally tree worker).



carpenter (plural carpenters)

  1. A person skilled at carpentry, the trade of cutting and joining timber in order to construct buildings or other structures.
  2. (nautical) A senior rating in ships responsible for all the woodwork onboard; in the days of sail, a warrant officer responsible for the hull, masts, spars and boats of a ship, and whose responsibility was to sound the well to see if the ship was making water.
  3. A two-wheeled carriage.
  4. (zoology) A carpenter bee.
    • 1968, Elliot C. G. Pinhey, Introduction to insect study in Africa, page 146:
      The large, stout African bees are carpenters (Xylocopa), making small tunnels in timber, housing few individuals.
  5. (Canada, Britain, regional) A woodlouse.
    • 2015, A.D. Barber, “Vernacular names of woodlice with particular reference to Devonshire”, in Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group, page 58:
      Eleven names in Laver’s table (just over 6%) are of the “carpenter” type, a name for woodlice also recorded in Shropshire and Warwickshire. [] Apparently a Newfoundland word for woodlouse is “carpenter” or “cafner” (another is also “boat-builder”). These names clearly relate to the animals’ affinity to wood as will “carpenter’s flea”, “wood-pig”, “wood-bug”, “grampus wood-bug” and, of course “woodlouse”.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



carpenter (third-person singular simple present carpenters, present participle carpentering, simple past and past participle carpentered)

  1. To work as a carpenter, cutting and joining timber.
    Synonym: (rare) carpent

Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Anglo-Norman carpenter (compare Old French charpentier), from Late Latin carpentārius.


  • IPA(key): /karpɛnˈteːr/, /ˈkarpɛntər/


carpenter (plural carpenteres)

  1. carpenter

Related terms[edit]


  • English: carpenter
  • Scots: carpenter


Old French[edit]


carpenter oblique singularm (oblique plural carpenters, nominative singular carpenters, nominative plural carpenter)

  1. Alternative form of charpantier
    • c. 1155, Wace, Le Roman de Brut:
      Maçons fist querre et carpenters
      Si fist refaire les mousters
      He searched for masons and carpenters
      in order to rebuild the minsters.