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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Mount, 20, and Pulisic, 20, seem destined for lengthy careers, though more likely as journeymen than stars. Frank Dell’apa,, "Early indications aren’t promising for Chelsea FC," 19 Aug. 2019 Rule 5 draft choice Travis Bergen didn’t work out, but perhaps journeyman veteran Fernando Abad or lanky southpaw Williams Jerez can provide depth against lefties in the middle innings. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants finally feeling the struggle that’s plaguing every NL Wild Card contender," 19 Aug. 2019 Rosado is on his way to becoming a journeyman machinist, someone who can move up the ladder of CBS as older employees do the same or retire. Rebecca Lurye,, "James Rosado was laid off from his insurance job. Now he stands to earn a six-figure salary working in manufacturing.," 18 Aug. 2019 For years, the Patriots have plugged journeymen in at roles that other teams usually stock with star power, and the machine purrs on. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "For Patriots' young receivers, pressure is on to step up for Tom Brady," 14 Aug. 2019 Jim was a journeyman carpenter who could build anything from start to finish. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jim Bell, environmentalist, one-time mayoral candidate, dies at 77," 8 Aug. 2019 Nick Foles looks more like a journeyman than a former Super Bowl MVP. Andy Benoit,, "Jaguars Defense Improves, But Foles Fails to Elevate the Offense," 29 July 2019 Patton is a journeyman electrician who works for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Carol Kovach,, "St. Columbkille, Holy Family students receive tuition aid from Brookside Gives Back Fund: Sun Postings," 11 June 2019 Veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick is in line to start the preseason opener, but Miami traded this spring for second-year pro Josh Rosen, a first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals last season. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Dolphins' Brian Flores pushes Patriots principles, hopes to buck Belichick disciple trend," 8 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about journeyman

Listen to Our Podcast about journeyman

Statistics for journeyman

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for journeyman

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on journeyman

Spanish Central: Translation of journeyman

Nglish: Translation of journeyman for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about journeyman

Comments on journeyman

What made you want to look up journeyman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!