If Someone Calls You an “Amateur,” Take It as a Compliment.

A clue on Jeopardy! the other day put the word “AMATEUR” into a completely new context for me. Oftentimes, words have more than one meaning; but their modern meanings grow so prevalent, we often forget what else they could signify. And, when the modern meaning of a word is a negative one, it can oftentimes leave people feeling hurt or rejected. Hence, the true adage:


Now, the word “amateur” is most times thought to mean, “a person inexperienced or unskilled in a particular activity.”

However — the word is actually derived from the Latin amare, which means “to love.” Then, we have the Latin amator, or “lover.” Fast-forwarding, we have the Italian and French for “lover,” amatore and amateur respectively. So, really — amateur just means lover. Its connotations of a “dabbler” only date from around 1786.

Now we see that we must look much more closely at words!

words 2

Here are three other lovely definitions for the word amateur.

1. A person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than financial benefit or professional reasons.

2. An athlete who has never competed for payment or for a monetary prize.

3. A person who admires something: devotee; fan.

So, to all my fellow independent authors — when someone calls you an amateur, thinking that they’re hurting your feelings, or just making you feel like you’re not as good as someone else, respond THIS WAY!

“YES — I am an AMATEUR! But that only means that I love what I do, and I don’t do it because I’m a money-grubbing pig!”

We must be careful with our words. They have POWER! All hail . . .



27 thoughts on “If Someone Calls You an “Amateur,” Take It as a Compliment.

  1. All hail the power of words indeed. You know, while reading this I thought of another word that gets SO overused…”expert.” Everyone they have on tv to discuss a subject is an expert and people have now taken to describing themselves as experts. I’ve always looked down on the use of that word…probably because I enjoy being a jack-of-all-trades kinda guy and I hold a high standard to that powerful word. Calling a person an expert gives them power I believe only in rare cases really applies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I perfectly agree with you. One person can’t be an “expert” at everything; and the word should be reserved for people with a complete knowledge of their field. And the years it takes to acquire such knowledge should be respected! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Look into it, you who care about such stuff: you’ll find that “professional” is “fascist” by another name. Which is to say: “professionalism” is a fascist ideology.

    Solomon sed.


      1. So far as I’m aware, you won’t find that ‘tidbit of etymology’ in any dictionary. It came to me during a magazine journalism class years ago, when the instructor told us that “as long as you’re drawing a salary from the business, it is unprofessional to ‘blow the whistle’ on what you may see as illegal or unethical practices by management.”

        I took that home and chewed on it for a while. I arrived at my diagnosis of ‘fascism’ a week or two later. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think so.


        Liked by 1 person

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