Definition of journeyman
- a good journeyman trumpeter
- —New Yorker
- a journeyman outfielder
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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.
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.
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
: 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
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