Tuesday, March 17, 2009


cutler [KUT-lər]
n. one who makes, repairs, or sells knives or other cutting instruments

[From Middle English cuteler, from Old French coutelier, from coutel ("knife")]

This week, the quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Jay Cutler, got into a public spat with his team's new coach, Josh McDaniels, after it was reported that the Broncos attempted to trade Mr. Cutler to another team:

"Cutler is upset that the Broncos tried to trade him for New England quarterback Matt Cassel last month and what he considers McDaniels's misleading answers to his inquiries about those discussions."

That got me thinking about cutler and cutlery. While cutlery is technically defined as "cutting instruments collectively, esp. knives for cutting food" or "the trade or business of a cutler," cutlery is normally used in a broader sense, as "utensils used at the table for serving and eating food."

Unless his family's name was changed, I imagine that Jay Cutler descends from an ancestor who "made, repaired, or sold knives or other cutting instruments." I love surnames like that: taken from an ancestor's occupation.

What are the meanings of some other NFL quarterbacks' last names?
Kurt Warner -- "someone who gave notice of danger, impending evil, or anything else unfavorable."
Jason Campbell -- "a man whose mouth inclined a little on one side."
Kerry Collins -- "a term of endearment applied to young animals."
JaMarcus Russell -- "red-haired, somewhat reddish; carrot-colored."
Tom Brady -- "handsome."
Tyler Thigpen -- "someone who begged for coins."
Drew Brees -- "Dutch: habitational name from any of the various places in France named Buré, or from a Dutch form of the personal name Brictius."
Matt Schaub -- "‘sheaf or wisp of straw’, hence a habitational name from a house distinguished by the sign of a sheaf of grain for a licensed brewer, or perhaps a nickname for a scrawny person or someone with straw-colored hair."
Tony Romo -- "snub-nosed."
Brett Favre -- "smith; craftsman."
Dan Orlovsky -- "Russian (Orlov) and Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): patronymic from the nickname Oryol ‘eagle’."

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