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

Alongside rookies and journeymen stuck on discount deals, superstars comprise the other category of NBA players that regularly outperform their contracts. Andrew Sharp,, "The Lakers and a Free Agency Moment of Truth," 27 June 2019 That includes 36-year-old journeyman forward Chris Thorburn, who skated three shifts for 1:52 on Oct. 13 in his only NHL action of the season. Stephen Whyno,, "For Blues stalwart (and Panthers 2002 first-rounder) Jay Bouwmeester, playoff wait was well worth it," 14 June 2019 King has been somewhat of a journeyman over the last few years but the 26-year-old has been settled on the south coast since 2015 after a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers., "Newcastle Willing to Offer Matt Ritchie & Cash in Swap Deal for Bournemouth Forward," 24 June 2018 And the advice gave Mr. Bourdain, a journeyman cook and chef nobody had heard of, a new career. New York Times, "Anthony Bourdain Was a Teller of Often Unappetizing Truths," 8 June 2018 Some states license apprentices and journeymen electricians through union and nonunion channels. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019 The Seahawks also signed journeyman Stephen Morris, who has not thrown a pass in a regular season game during his four-year career. Geoffrey C. Arnold,, "Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll: 'There may be a place' for Colin Kaepernick on roster," 24 Apr. 2018 Some states only license journeymen, while still others have a separate master electrician and electrical contractor’s license. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019 With 2017 second-rounder Obi Melifonwu missing much of the offseason due to injury, don’t be surprised if versatile journeyman Marcus Gilchrist gets significant snaps at safety alongside Karl Joseph. 10. Andy Benoit,, "Jon Gruden Is Back, With a Big Rebuilding Job: 10 Thoughts on the Raiders," 18 June 2018

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

8 Jul 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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