Definition: Farmer

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English fermour (a steward, bailliff, collector of taxes), from Old French fermier (a farmer, a lessee, husbandman, bailliff), from Medieval Latin firmarius (one to whom land is rented, a collector of taxes, deputy), from firma; equivalent to farm + -er. Compare Old English feormere (a purveyor of a guild, a supplier of food, a grocer, farmer).


farmer (plural farmers)

  1. Someone or something that farms, as:
    1. A person who works the land and/or who keeps livestock; anyone engaged in agriculture on a farm.
    2. More specifically, a farm owner, as distinguished from a farmworker or farmhand as a hired employee thereof.
  2. (historical) One who takes taxes, customs, excise, or other duties, to collect for a certain rate per cent.
  3. (historical, mining) The lord of the field, or one who farms the lot and cope of the crown.

Usage notes

Farmer is probably the last occupational descriptor to have been used as a prefix to a surname in everyday usage: e.g. Farmer Brown. This usage was common until the mid-twentieth century.

Derived terms

  • chicken farmer
  • cockatoo farmer
  • dairy farmer
  • fish farmer
  • gold farmer
  • pig farmer
  • sheep farmer
  • tenant farmer
  • wind farmer

Related terms

  • farm
  • farmboy
  • farmgirl
  • farmhand
  • farmman
  • farmwoman


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