Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Artesian vs. Artisan

Yesterday, while sitting on a bench at a mall in town to eat my lunch, I was sitting across from a retail outlet our country's national chocolatier companies, and I noticed a sign advertising "artisian bark." It brought to mind someone mentioning to me recently that they had bought "artesian bread" at the grocery store, and that prompted me to look up the meaning of that word. I have always used the word "artisan" to refer to what we might consider traditional skills such as hand-crafted cabinetry or baked goods. I wondered if there were simply two pronunciations for "artisan" or if we were all using all the words incorrectly or exactly what was going on!

So I looked up "artesian", and Merriam-Webster defines it as:

involving, relating to, or supplied by the upward movement of water under hydrostatic pressure in rocks or unconsolidated material beneath the earth's surface 
  • artesian spring
  • artesian water
  • artesian pressure

And based on my Google search, I can also confirm that "artisian", as I saw at the store, was also spelled wrong, aside from the incorrect usage.

Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster defines "artisan" as:

1:a worker who practices a trade or handicraft :craftsperson 
  • a skilled artisan
2:a person or company that produces something (such as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods often used before another noun 
  • artisan breads
So, now I know the difference. I also had believed that "artesian" referred to something similar as "artisan" and wondered if its usage was a matter of regional variation, but evidently I was mistaken!


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