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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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 Keldon Johnson, a two-year swingman for the San Antonio Spurs, and JaVale McGee, a defensive-minded center who has been an NBA journeyman, were added to the roster., 18 July 2021 The older journeyman, who for whatever reason has been chewed up by the top leagues in America and elsewhere, who is close to hanging it up, is the perfect target to add to the roster. Kevin Reynolds, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 July 2021 Popovich’s assistants from 2012-19 after a seven-season NBA playing career as a journeyman that including stints with the Spurs from 2007-09 and 2010-11. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, 28 June 2021 As for Jae Crowder, no one on the eve of the 2020 playoffs could have foreseen what was going to happen with the journeyman forward. Ira Winderman,, 18 May 2021 Back when the journeyman came to the Jazz, in that initial year, Snyder said this about him. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Apr. 2021 Adams, a journeyman player, spent six seasons in the league. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, 9 Apr. 2021 Ducharme was a journeyman player who has been working his way up the coaching ranks for the last two decades. Carol Schram, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2021 Kyle Wright, Kyle Muller, and Bryse Wilson have all started games in recent weeks, along with 37-year-old journeyman Jesse Chavez, in his second tour with the club. Dan Schlossberg, Forbes, 26 June 2021

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

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Journeyman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

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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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