jour·​ney·​man | \ˈjər-nē-mən \

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

Reynolds, a 34-year old journeyman infielder that signed with the Nationals in mid-April, recorded a staggering 10 RBI and ignited Washington’s 18-4 blowout win over the Marlins. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "A historic game by Nationals journeyman Mark Reynolds leads to another Marlins debacle," 7 July 2018 In the basketball world, Ledbetter is considered a journeyman. Jabari Young, San Antonio Express-News, "Ledbetter staying true to his formula with Spurs Summer League team," 4 July 2018 The idea of a 36-year-old journeyman guard being a billionaire would have made for a great story. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "The Cavs made Jose Calderon pay for dinner when they thought he was a billionaire," 23 May 2018 The starter, Josh McCown, is 39, has been a journeyman, has talked with teams about being a coach and knows his end is near. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde5: Here's one benefit to Dolphins not giving Tannehill competition," 13 May 2018 That Davis move came shortly after Seattle brought aboard another journeyman quarterback, Stephen Morris, who has also accomplished far less in the NFL than Kaepernick. Des Bieler,, "Adidas interested in signing Colin Kaepernick if he signs with an NFL team first," 17 Apr. 2018 The 30-year-old journeyman has been a spark off the bench. Jabari Young, San Antonio Express-News, "Five takeaways from the Utah Summer League," 5 July 2018 James dragged a shifting, problematic Cavaliers roster to the Finals with journeyman Jeff Green playing second banana in Game 7 of the conference finals because of an injury to Kevin Love. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As NBA Finals begin, where do Bucks fit in the contender conversation in the East?," 30 May 2018 Bradley Center electronics equipment will be used for training for apprentices and journeymen electricians, said Dean Warsh, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 494. James B. Nelson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Bucks' donations of Bradley Center equipment will help Habitat build new homes," 19 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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Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for journeyman

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

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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 \
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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