[jur-nee-muh n]
noun, plural jour·ney·men.
  1. a person who has served an apprenticeship at a trade or handicraft and is certified to work at it assisting or under another person.
  2. any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer.
  3. a person hired to do work for another, usually for a day at a time.

Origin of journeyman

1425–75; late Middle English journeman, equivalent to journee a day's work (see journey) + man man1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for journeymen

tradesman, worker, artisan, craftsman

Examples from the Web for journeymen

Historical Examples of journeymen

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for journeymen


noun plural -men
  1. a craftsman, artisan, etc, who is qualified to work at his trade in the employment of another
  2. a competent workman
  3. (formerly) a worker hired on a daily wage

Word Origin for journeyman

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

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

journeymen in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.