1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Smith

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SMITH, a worker in metals. The O. Eng. smid, Du. smid, Ger. Schmied, &c., are from an obsolete Teut. verb smeithan, to forge. The root is seen in Gr. σμίλη, a graver's tool. It is apparently not connected with “smooth,” where an original m has been lost. There is no foundation for the old etymological guess which identifies “smith” with “to smite,” as the one who smites or beats iron. When used without such qualification as appears in “goldsmith,” “silversmith,” &c., the term means a worker in iron, especially as indicating a “blacksmith,” one who forges iron, as opposed to “whitesmith,” the finisher and polisher of iron, or “tinsmith,” a worker in tin. The word has originated one of the commonest of English surnames, sometimes taking various archaic forms (Smyth, Smythe, Smigth, &c.; also German Schmidt).