Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
August 23rd, 2016
Episode 625 of 793 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 23, 2016 is: journeyman \JER-nee-mun\ noun 1 : a worker who has learned a trade and works for another person usually by the day 2 : an experienced reliable worker, athlete, or performer especially as distinguished from one who is brilliant or colorful Examples: "I started working exclusively as an actor when I was 25 years old…. I was a journeyman actor, working here and there. And I loved it." — Bryan Cranston, quoted in The Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb. 2016 "Rich Hill is 36 and likely to be the most sought-after pitcher on the trade market, but he claims he doesn't see it that way. The transformation from journeymanto a pitcher with electric stuff has been stunning at his age." — Nick Cafardo, The Boston Globe, 10 July 2016 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.