A writer by any other name…

Names for a writerAnyone living as I do near to Stratford-upon-Avon will be all too aware that April 23 marked 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare – the world’s most famous playwright.

Unlike the Bard, I’m no playwright or poet.

But I am a writer and a fellow lover of words.

So, as my personal homage to the great man, I thought I’d dedicate this week’s post to exploring various synonyms and related names for a writer.

Definition of a writer

Collins English Dictionary defines a writer as “a person who writes books, articles, etc, especially as an occupation”.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary uses “a person who has written a particular text”, while Merriam-Webster opts for “someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc”.

My preferred definition comes from Thesaurus.com, which defines a writer as a “person who composes with language”. To me, this acknowledges that writing is an art form – a creative process.

The antonym for a writer is, of course, a reader.

Alternative names for a writer

Author = a person who writes a book, article, report etc

Auteur = a writer with a distinctive style and practice

Autobiographer = a person who writes their own biography

Bard = a poet-singer who recites epic or heroic verse

Biographer = a writer of someone else’s biography

Blogger = a person who writes blog posts

Clerk = a person employed in an office, bank, court or local council to keep records

Columnist = a person who writes a regular feature in a newspaper or magazine

Composer = a person who writes music

Contributor = a person who contributes an article, story, etc to a publication

Copywriter = a person who writes the text for online or printed marketing material

Correspondent = a journalist reporting on a particular subject or from a foreign country

Critic = a professional reviewer of art, music, literature, restaurants etc

Dramatist = a person who writes plays or dramas

Editor = a person who commissions or prepares written material for publication

Epistler = a writer of epistles (letters or literary works in the form of letters)

Essayist = a person who writes essays

Fabulist = a creator or writer of fables

Fictioneer = a writer of fiction, usually with little concern for literary quality

Fictionist = a writer of fiction, especially novels

Ghostwriter = a person employed to write material for another person, who is the named author

Hack = a writer who works to order

Hatchet man = a writer who specialises in strongly abusive or critical language

Ink-slinger = a composer of written work

Journalist = a person who writes for newspapers or magazines; a person who keeps a journal

Librettist = an author of a libretto (text or words of an opera)

Memoirist = a person who writes a historical account from personal knowledge

Novelist = a person who writes novels

Penman = a person employed to write by hand on behalf of others; a person with a specified ability in handwriting; an author

Pen(cil)-pusher = a person with a clerical job involving routine paperwork

Playwright = a person who writes plays 

Poet = a person who writes expressive, rhythmic verse

Pot-boiler = a person who writes a book, film etc catering to popular taste

Prosaist = a person who writes in prose

Reporter = a person who writes news stories for a newspaper or broadcaster

Romancer = a writer of medieval romances

Satirist = a writer of plays, novels etc using satire

Screenwriter = a person who writes screenplays

Scribbler = a writer whose work has little value or importance

Scribe = a person who copied out documents; a writer, especially a journalist

Scripter / Scriptwriter = a person who writes scripts for plays, films or TV shows

Scrivener = a person who writes out deeds, letters, etc

Songwriter = a person who writes songs

Stringer = a journalist retained by a newspaper on a part-time basis to cover a particular place

Versifier = a writer of light or inferior verse (e.g. for greetings cards)

Wordmonger = a writer who uses words for show or without particular regard for meaning

Wordsmith = a skilled user of words

Bonus material

Did you know that Shakespeare was born AND died on 23rd April – 52 years apart?

If this list has whetted your appetite, here are some archaic names for a writer: 14 Old-Fashioned Words for Writers and Old Words for Writers.

Over to you

I was expecting there to be quite a few different names for a writer, but who knew there are so many? And so many different types of writing?

I’m sure I’ve missed some out too…

Were any of these new to you? Or do you have any other names for a writer you’d care to add? Please share them below.

(photo courtesy of Simon Howden via Freedigitalphotos.net)

Posted in Names, Writing Tagged with: ,
2 comments on “A writer by any other name…
  1. Surely the “reader” is the *complement* to a writer?

    I wonder if “censor” is the antonym? Or perhaps, at times, “editor”!

    • Interesting perspective – I guess it depends on which way you look at it. Certainly writers are doing it all for nothing (other than for the pure pleasure of writing) if no-one reads their work. And yes, the ‘nemesis’ of any writer is surely the editor. In terms of copywriting, that’s usually the client 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

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