Receptionist



[ri-sep-shuh-nist] /rɪˈsɛp ʃə nɪst/

noun
1.
a person employed to receive and assist callers, clients, etc., as in an office.
2.
Theology. a person who advocates receptionism.
/rɪˈsɛpʃənɪst/
noun
1.
a person employed in an office, hotel, doctor’s surgery, etc, to receive clients, guests, or patients, answer the telephone, arrange appointments, etc
n.

“person hired to receive clients in an office,” 1900, from reception + -ist. Originally in photography studios.

Let me not forget the receptionist — generally and preferably, a woman of refined and gentle manners, well informed and specially gifted in handling people of varied dispositions. A woman especially who knows how to handle other women, and who can make herself beloved by the children who may visit the studio. A woman, also, who in a thoroughly suave and dignified way, knows just how to handle the young man of the period so that the photographer may be glad to have his business. What a power the receptionist is when properly chosen and trained. It is not too much to say that she can both make and destroy a business, if she has the amount of discretionary power given to her in some galleries. [John A. Tennant, “Business Methods Applied in Photography,” “Wilson’s Photographic Magazine,” October 1900]

Earlier as an adjective in theology and law (1867).

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