An amusing and perhaps useful list of occupations, some of which have merely shifted in usage (ADMINISTRATOR – directed the affairs of another) and some of which have sunk into deep oblivion are still in use, unbeknownst to me until I read my comments (AGISTER – official of the Royal Forests or in the New Forest it is the title for the one in charge of the ponies). There’s no indication of where or when these were in use (some are medieval, some clearly twentieth-century), but that’s what dictionaries are for. My favorite so far: BADGER – licensed pauper who wore a badge with the letter P on it and could only work in a defined area. (Via MetaFilter.)


  1. dungbeattle says:

    In the next few years their will many more as we get robots at the checkout counters;

  2. Agister would make sense to me – given that we still use the word “agist” to describe the care of horses for hire.

  3. Agister is still in use in the New Forest, as is verderer – just google!

  4. Well, whaddaya know! I stand corrected.

  5. not SCREEVER…? that’s what Dick Van Dyke
    is in MARY POPPINS (someone who draws pictures
    on the sidewalk for passers-by). –i once
    won tickets to a Crystal Gayle concert for
    my own effort in a Valentine’s Day competition
    (abstract category). but that’s another story.

  6. I have run across the occupation “pail turner” I can’t find this on any lists of obsolete occupations so I’m hoping you might either know the answer or have an idea where I might look.
    Thank you

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