"wages" as payment *by* worker

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Nov 26 04:12:49 UTC 2008

I withdraw this question, since (a) it hasn't been responded to; and
(b) I find that none of the 18th century uses of wages quoted in the
book I was reading need to be interpreted as "payments made by the
slave to his master".  They all can be understood as "payments made
by the person hiring the slave to the slave" -- which he then of
course has to remit to his master.  The confusing wording was only in
the 20th-century author's sentence.


At 11/19/2008 01:19 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>I have seen 18th-century uses of "wages" to mean payment *by* a
>worker  -- if a slave was hired out and earned money for labor, he
>would have to pay his owner an agreed amount that his time was worth
>to his owner (and generally the slave was able to keep any excess
>for himself).
>This seems a reversal of the common sense of  "wages" being paid *to*
>a worker, and I don't see it in the OED.  Am I missing something, or
>is it absent?
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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