Printable Version
Pronunciation: chæn-dlêr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Candle-maker or candle seller. 2. Dealer in ship and boat (nautical) supplies. 3. (Archaic) A dealer in household provisions, groceries and the like.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a widespread surname based on a profession when capitalized, like Carter, Baker, and Hooper. A chandlery is a shop or storehouse of a chandler or the supplies sold by one. The word is rarely used as a verb, mostly as a present participle used as a noun, chandlering "trading in chandlery".

In Play: The original word is still used among craftsmen: "Marvin tried his hand as a tallow chandler, but found many artificial waxes made better candles." We also bump into this word around boat docks; "His ultimate ambition was to open a yacht chandler's shop at the local dock, selling chandlery to millionaires for 50% over the manufacturer's suggested retail price."

Word History: Middle English borrowed this word from Old French chandelier, from chandelle "candle", remodeled Latin candela "candle" that was derived from candere "to shine, glisten, be brilliant". The root of this word is also found in the Latinate borrowings candor, incandescent, and candidate, not because Roman candidates for public office had to be brilliant, but because they wore brilliant white togas so the electorate could easily spot them. Candere was handed down from PIE kand- "to shine". Since the Greeks preferred oil lamps to candles, this same word emerged as kandilo "oil lamp" there. It was borrowed by the Russian Orthodox Church with the same spelling and meaning. (Now let's thank Dan Obertance for seeing beneath the surface of today's Good Word and sharing it with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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