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Etymology 1[edit]

A painter at work

From paint +‎ -er, influenced by Middle French paintre.


painter (plural painters)

  1. An artist who paints pictures.
  2. A laborer or workman who paints surfaces using a paintbrush or other means.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably from Middle French pendeur.


painter (plural painters)

  1. (obsolete) A chain or rope used to attach the shank of an anchor to the side of a ship when not in use. [14th-17th c.]
  2. (nautical) A rope connected to the bow of a boat, used to attach it to e.g. a jetty or another boat. [from 17th c.]
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows:
      "Shove that [fat, wicker luncheon-basket] under your feet," he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat. Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again.
    • 1944, Miles Burton, chapter 5, in The Three Corpse Trick:
      The dinghy was trailing astern at the end of its painter, and Merrion looked at it as he passed. He saw that it was a battered-looking affair of the prahm type, with a blunt snout, and like the parent ship, had recently been painted a vivid green.

Etymology 3[edit]

From a variation of panther.


painter (plural painters)

  1. (US) A mountain lion, by mispronunciation of "panther".
    • 1893, James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer:
      I have fou't most of the creatur's of the forest, such as bears, wolves, painters and catamounts, but this is the beginning with the red-skins.