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

The Miami Dolphins also have a new coach (Brian Flores) and will likely start a 36-year-old journeyman quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick), but they are expected to turn to a second-year quarterback (Josh Rosen)., "Can Tom Brady outrun Father Time? 10 questions for the New England Patriots as training camp opens," 31 July 2019 As a quarterback, Kevin Hogan is a journeyman in training. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: It’s time for Broncos to remove “Handle with Care” stickers from uniform of rookie QB Drew Lock," 25 July 2019 Yates was a journeyman going on his third team in six months when the Padres claimed him off waivers on April 26, 2017. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kirby Yates elated to be All-Star, disappointed to be Padres’ only one," 30 June 2019 There’s the prodigy, the journeyman, the can’t-miss kid… and then there’s Collin Morikawa, the patient one. Ryan Asselta,, "A Quick Nine With Rising Star Collin Morikawa," 27 June 2019 Lewis was a college basketball journeyman who played at Penn State and Cleveland State before transferring to Louisville for the 2015-16 season. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Trae Young joined Donovan Mitchell, other alums at Louisville basketball practice Friday," 14 June 2019 Many standouts have been journeymen such as Randy Foye, Nate Robinson, Josh Selby, Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Celtics coach Brad Stevens on Carsen Edwards: 'He's an elite shooter'," 21 May 2019 But rather than shed a tear, the journeyman catcher shared a laugh after the game. Bill Shaikin,, "Angels’ no-hit catcher Dustin Garneau connected to Nick Adenhart tragedy," 13 July 2019 The Suns got Jevon Carter and journeyman Kyle Korver in return. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Report: Phoenix Suns to re-sign Kelly Oubre Jr. to two-year, $30 million deal," 10 July 2019

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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Statistics for journeyman

Last Updated

5 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for journeyman

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

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More Definitions for journeyman



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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Spanish Central: Translation of journeyman

Nglish: Translation of journeyman for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about journeyman

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What made you want to look up journeyman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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