jour·​ney·​man ˈjər-nē-mən How to pronounce journeyman (audio)
: 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
: 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 Toho journeyman Motoyoshi Oda stepped up in his place, and the result is a typical sci-fi sequel, the kind that tries to outdo its predecessor in terms of spectacle — here, Godzilla moves down the coast to trample Osaka — but doesn’t come close to matching it in impact. Katie Rife,, 28 Mar. 2024 In the early 1990s, Jim White was a drumming journeyman, having pounded out rhythms in a string of loud and rabid bands with snotty names, like Feral Dinosaurs or Venom P. Stinger. Grayson Haver Currin, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Kitna, the son of former journeyman quarterback Jon Kitna, was dismissed by Florida after an arrest on felony charges, that were later dropped. Hunter Bailey, Charlotte Observer, 29 Feb. 2024 The task of managing Sporting — with its squad of young promise and gnarled journeymen — is a world away from taking charge of the superstars at Barcelona or Manchester United. Rory Smith, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Both are political journeymen who have patiently climbed the political ladder rung-by-rung. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, 6 Mar. 2024 Before his life-altering injury, Castro worked as a journeyman pipefitter based in San Jose. Maya Miller, Sacramento Bee, 22 Feb. 2024 Rookie right-hander Jeremiah Estrada matched Matsui’s perfect 3-K inning and journeyman lefty Austin Davis fanned three minor-leaguers around a double. Chuck Murr, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 Gooden had been employed as a journeyman painter for over a decade at LaMettry’s Collision in Burnsville, the business said in a statement to NBC News. Melissa Chan, NBC News, 20 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'journeyman.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near journeyman

Cite this Entry

“Journeyman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


jour·​ney·​man ˈjər-nē-mən How to pronounce journeyman (audio)
: a worker who has learned a trade and works for another person usually by the day
: an experienced reliable worker
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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