r) KEY NOUN:
- One that installs and repairs pipes and plumbing.
- Slang An employee assigned to investigate and stop leaks of sensitive information.
Middle English plummer
, from Old French plomier
, from Latin plumbrius
, lead worker
, from Latin plumbum
, leadWORD HISTORY:
A plumber works with water pipes, once made from lead, with lead solder for the joints. The Romans used lead pipes, and the word plumber
comes from the Latin word for lead, plumbum.
There is no Latin, or even Indo-European, etymology for plumbum
but it bears a distant similarity to the Greek word for lead, the standard form of which, molubdos,
gives us the name of another element in the Periodic Table, molybdenum.
Two non-standard forms, molibos
and especially bolimos,
are even more similar to the Latin.