jour·​ney·​man | \ ˈjər-nē-mən How to pronounce journeyman (audio) \

Definition of journeyman

1 : a worker who has learned a trade and works for another person usually by the day — compare apprentice entry 1 sense 1b, master entry 1 sense 1c
2 : an experienced reliable worker, athlete, or performer especially as distinguished from one who is brilliant or colorful a good journeyman trumpeterNew Yorker a journeyman outfielder

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Did You Know?

The journey in journeyman refers to a sense of the familiar word not often used anymore: "a day's labor." This sense of journey was first used in the 14th century. When journeyman appeared the following century, it originally referred to a person who, having learned a handicraft or trade through an apprenticeship, worked for daily wages. In the 16th century, journeyman picked up a figurative (and mainly deprecatory) sense; namely, "one who drudges for another." These days, however, journeyman has little to do with drudgery, and lots to do with knowing a trade inside out.

Examples of journeyman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fennimore High School graduate and independent league journeyman Ryan Kussmaul is also a member of the pitching staff. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Professional baseball games are back in town this weekend. Here's what you need to know about the Milwaukee Milkmen.," 3 July 2020 The 33-year-old solid journeyman birdied four of five holes on his first nine, including the tough 18th green with a 54-foot putt. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Hits and misses from the Rocket Mortgage Classic: Stars show out in Round 1," 2 July 2020 Coach Bill Belichick had expressed confidence in quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, however Stidham remains unproven entering his second NFL season, and Hoyer is a journeyman. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Cam Newton agrees to one-year deal with New England Patriots, per reports," 29 June 2020 Veteran journeymen Kenny Wiggins and Oday Aboushi are among others expected to compete for the right guard job. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "How Senior Bowl connection helped Detroit Lions land Ohio State guard Jonah Jackson," 25 Apr. 2020 His father worked as a machine repairman journeyman at the Ford Rouge plant and retired from the company after 41 years. Phoebe Wall Howard,, "He had to drive a defective Ford Focus home in reverse. Now he blames automaker for debt," 26 Dec. 2019 Quick thoughts: Keenum is the quintessential journeyman: Never quite good enough to hold on to the starter’s job, but solid enough to keep the ship afloat for a while. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions in 2020 free agency: 8 players who could be big hits," 15 Feb. 2020 The Lightning received journeyman minor-league goalie Marek Mazanec and two draft picks in the deal, including a conditional 2020 first-round selection. John Wawrow,, "P.K. Subban trade overshadows second day of NHL draft; Caps take two forwards, one defenseman," 22 June 2019 That leaves 23-year-old Jarrett Stidham and journeyman Brian Hoyer as New England's only quarterbacks on the depth chart. Shelby Dermer,, "Social media reactions: Cincinnati Bengals release Andy Dalton," 30 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'journeyman.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of journeyman

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for journeyman

Middle English, from journey journey, a day's labor + man

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The first known use of journeyman was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Journeyman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for journeyman


How to pronounce journeyman (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of journeyman

: a worker who learns a skill and then works for another person
: a worker, performer, or athlete who is experienced and good but not excellent


jour·​ney·​man | \ ˈjər-nē-mən How to pronounce journeyman (audio) \
plural journeymen\ -​mən \

Kids Definition of journeyman

: a worker who has learned a trade and usually works for another person by the day

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