A Detectorist’s Pet Peeve

imagePet Peeve:  How annoying is it when people refer to us as “He (or she) is a metal detector?”  Or, “Oh, You’re a metal detector?”

Dear rest of the world who do not metal detect:
We are Detectorist’s.  We are not the machine, we are the user’s of the machine.  Therefore, Detectorist’s.

Listening to someone speak to a group of us “detectorists” a while back, I had to grit my teeth as he said “You metal detectors…”, and yes, technically, with our machines in hand, we are metal detectors.  We detect metal, but again, we are not the machines, we are the users of the machine.  Calling us metal detectors is just wrong, and just sounds wrong.

This must be a universal pet peeve in English speaking countries, as evidenced by the first episodes of both seasons of the popular UK show Detectorists, where the person calling them metal detectors has to be corrected to the proper term, i.e. detectorists.  Great show by the way.

My guy has his own way of dealing with being called a metal detector, and likes to drive me mad by frequently teasing that he is not a detectorist, he is a “Metal Detective”.  I wished him good luck with that, and assured him that he is sure to make many friends at the local detecting club by introducing himself as “Mark, the Metal Detective”.

I dream that some day folks will get it right, and my spell check will actually recognize the term and stop highlighting my every use of the word, but until then …sigh.  And no, I’m not a “metal detective” either–I’m a Detectorist–


Okay, pet peeve is over–Happy Hunting to all my fellow Detectorist’s out there!
*After I posted this, I received a comment with a link to a YouTube clip which was one of the scenes I was thinking about when I wrote this, so follow this link to see exactly what I’m talking about https://youtu.be/Ga9ab8EnlEQ.  It seems I’m not the only one with this Pet Peeve.

17 thoughts on “A Detectorist’s Pet Peeve

    1. Strange that you haven’t heard that before, ’cause I hear it all the time. I’ve actually been introduced as “oh, this is Allyson, and she’s a metal detector.” Grrrr….. sorry you’ve been called other things, but look at it this way–if they’re not saying something about you, then you’re boring. So… Boring you are not!

        1. Yeah, it really is a cool show. I get a kick out of the reality based humor that a lot of folks who don’t detect, don’t understand or pick up on. Hope they continue season after season. Glad your wife enjoys it also.

  1. Hiya good little article and I actually think that there are so many consonants in the word that it makes it difficult for most folk to say- especially if you have false teeth! Which I don’t!
    From a linguistic point of view it’s clumsy and therefore people get lazy or worried about pronunciation.
    But I am with you, I am not a machine but someone who like metal detecting.

    1. Hi Shona-I never thought about it in a consonant sort of a way. Guess I just take it for granted that most folks know how to speak. To me, detectorist flows into my speech more easily than metal detector, but that’s just me, and I don’t have false teeth either 🙂 Thanks for your input, and Happy Hunting!

      1. I agree on its own detectorist flows but put metal in front and there’s a whole lot more going on, for some people anyway
        Maybe it’s the way we speak in Scotland hard t’s and c’s.
        Anyway who cares really as long as we know who we are!
        Happy days.

  2. I could be entirely wrong here but I think the word doesn’t exist in American English. I’ve looked it up on a couple of American dictionaries and in a few online dictionaries as well and ‘detectorist’ doesn’t come up. BUT, I am one of those people who believes people make language and we the few but mighty, may make this word an American word yet.

    1. Hey pull tab-
      It’s in the Oxford and Collins online dictionary (and some others). Type “definition of a detectorist” into google. I don’t know if it gets the same merit as the printed version, but at least it’s there.

      I did submit it to a few dictionaries a couple years back, with instances, and examples of its use (required), but I never heard anything back from them 🙁

      I’m thinking that maybe since there is a show titled Detectorists now, they might start recognizing the word.

      Just have to wait and see I guess…

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