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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Words of the day — métier

Good afternoon, Netizens...

February 08, 2013

Word of the Day

  • métier
  • audio pronunciation
  • \MET-yay\


: vocation, trade
: an area of activity in which one excels : forte

Within a short time of Sonia's first piano lessons, it was clear to her parents that music was her métier.

"The protagonist in [Cary] Fagan's first story ... is a judge on the Ontario Supreme Court who handles sensational cases and is widely admired for his devotion to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What we learn is that his life as a judge is merely a sideshow to the métier he really cares about: being a magician." — From a book review by Jennifer Hunter in the Toronto Star, January 6, 2013


The words "métier," "employment," "occupation," and "calling" all perform similar functions in English, though each word gets the job done in its own way. These hard-working synonyms can all refer to a specific sustained activity, especially an activity engaged in to earn a living, but these words also have slightly different shades of meaning. "Employment" implies simply that one was hired and is being paid by an employer, whereas "occupation" usually suggests special training, and "calling" generally applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession. "Métier," a French borrowing acquired by English speakers in the late 18th century, typically implies a calling for which one feels especially fitted.


Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.