A Day in the Life

Glossary of Terms

Apprenticeship: An arrangement by which a young person serves another for a specified period of time and learns the master's (or mistress's) trade.

Carpenter: A person who frames houses and often does the interior work as well, such as partitioning, building doors, laying floors, installing moldings and wainscoting.

Child mortality: A statistic describing the number of children who die in a given population.

Cooper: A person who makes wooden containers such as barrels and washtubs.

Gentry: In Virginia, the highest social class. Gentry families owned large amounts of land and numbers of slaves and held the highest public offices.

Mantuamaking: The making of various types of gowns for women.

Market: A time and place specified by a town for the sale of goods, mostly foodstuffs. In eighteenth-century Williamsburg, the market was held on Market Square once or twice a week (frequency varied during the century).

Middling: The middle ranks of society, neither of the highest classes nor the lowest; roughly equivalent to today's "middle class."

Millinery: The business of making and selling cloaks, hats, and linen and linen articles, such as aprons and caps, and of selling accessories, such as gloves, muffs, fans, and ribbons.

Plantation: A landholding where crops were grown. In eighteenth-century Virginia, a plantation could be any size, from a very small to a very large holding, what would today be called a farm. In the eighteenth century, a "farm" was land rented out to a tenant for growing crops.

Suburban: Outside, but bordering on, a town's boundaries.

Three "R's": The educational fundamentals: reading, 'riting, and "'rithmetic."

Tradesmen: Those who make a living by keeping a shop or producing goods by manual labor, as opposed to those who make their living in the "learned professions."

Tutored: Taught by a private tutor or hired teacher.

Urban: Of, pertaining to, or living in a town or city.

Watermen: In the eighteenth century, men employed in sailing boats on the rivers.


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