-manship Also -womanship.
Skill in a subject or activity.
Traditionally, terms in -manship indicate a skill and are formed from words in -man, as craftsmanship derives from craftsman. Other examples are chairmanship, horsemanship, seamanship, showmanship, and swordsmanship.
Following Stephen Potter's invention from 1947 onwards of various humorous terms (gamesmanship, lifemanship, one-upmanship), the ending has taken on a sense in its own right, since in these cases related terms in -man usually do not exist (lifeman, one-upman). Its sense is that of a skill deployed in order to disconcert a rival or opponent, as in committeemanship. Another recent example is brinkmanship, invented by Adlai Stevenson in 1956.
With the changes in the role of women in society in the second half of the twentieth century, some of the traditional terms have been amended to provide female equivalents, in effect creating the ending -womanship (craftswomanship, sportswomanship). Sometimes, forms in -personship are seen, such as chairpersonship. Words in both endings are comparatively rare.