Amateur

When did the word “amateur” take on an almost negative connotation? Merriam-Webster Online defines “amateur” as:

1 : DEVOTEE, ADMIRER
2 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession
3 : one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science

Usually the first definition is the preferred… seems to me, however, that in the vernacular, the third definition is preferred.

This is on my mind because at work we are trying to come up with a term for our customers… many of whom are not professional fabricators, for example, but may actually be quite proficient. If we call them amateurs it could be taken by some to be insulting.

I may just have to call the verbivores….

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