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[jur-nee-muh n] /ˈdʒɜr ni mən/
noun, plural journeymen.
a person who has served an apprenticeship at a trade or handicraft and is certified to work at it assisting or under another person.
any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer.
a person hired to do work for another, usually for a day at a time.
Origin of journeyman
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English journeman, equivalent to journee a day's work (see journey) + man man1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for journeymen
Historical Examples
  • Of the three other corpses, two were journeymen hatters; the third was not identified.

  • The journeymen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I lik'd it.

  • Apprentices, journeymen and masters, we should suffer no more.

  • The journeymen were delighted to see him, and they were very inquisitive.

    The Printer Boy. William M. Thayer
  • He was too effeminate to control his journeymen, and his shop was not well ordered.

    Make or Break Oliver Optic
  • The work went bravely on, for his two journeymen were interested in his success.

    The Yacht Club Oliver Optic
  • When any of the journeymen planted, one quarter of the trees died away.

    The Bibliotaph Leon H. Vincent
  • The councillors of princes I will not trust; they are but journeymen.

    The Commonwealth of Oceana James Harrington
  • There were plenty of carriers, drovers, and their sort, and journeymen artisans.

  • The journeymen of journalism would have left the truth naked.

    The Big Bow Mystery I. Zangwill
British Dictionary definitions for journeymen


noun (pl) -men
a craftsman, artisan, etc, who is qualified to work at his trade in the employment of another
a competent workman
(formerly) a worker hired on a daily wage
Word Origin
C15: from journey (in obsolete sense: a day's work) + man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for journeymen



"qualified worker at a craft or trade who works for wages for another" (a position between apprentice and master), early 15c., from journey (n.), preserving the etymological sense of the word, + man (n.). Figurative depricatory sense of "hireling, drudge" is from 1540s. Its American English colloquial shortening jour (adj.) is attested from 1835.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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journeymen in Culture

journeyman definition

A skilled artisan who works on hire for master artisans rather than for himself.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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