A smith, or metalsmith, is a person involved in the shaping of metal objects. The word smith is cognate with the somewhat archaic English (Germanic) word, "smite", meaning "to hit" or "to strike". Originally, smiths practiced their crafts by forming metal with hammer blows. In this sense, the English word predates the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain.
In pre-industrialized times, smiths held high or special social standing since they supplied the metal tools needed for farming (especially the plough) and warfare.
Etymology of smith
As an English suffix, -smith connotes a meaning of specialized craftsmen — for example, wordsmith and tunesmith are adjectives used to describe the skill of a writer or songwriter, respectively.
Types of smiths include:
• coppersmith, or brownsmith, works with copper
• blacksmith works with iron and steel
• whitesmith works with white metal (tin) and can refer to someone who polishes or finishes the metal rather than forging it
• goldsmith works with gold
• gunsmith works with guns
• locksmith works with locks
• pewtersmith works with pewter
• silversmith, or brightsmith, works with silver
• tinsmith, or tinner, works with light metal (such as tinware) and can refer to someone who deals in tinware
• bladesmith - forges knives, swords and other blades
• swordsmith - a bladesmith who forges only swords
• arrowsmith - forges arrow heads
• "handsmith" - may be used to designate a person practicing crafts not typically associated with metalwork.