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Feb 16, 2021
This week’s theme
To hyphenate or not to hyphenate?

This week’s words
merchant prince
journeyman
gold-digger
roughhouse
body blow

journeyman
German journeymen
Photo: A.stemmer / Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

journeyman

PRONUNCIATION:
(JUHR-nee-muhn)

MEANING:
noun: A worker, athlete, performer, etc. who is competent and reliable, but undistinguished.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old French jornee (a day’s work or travel), from Latin diurnum (day), from dies (day). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dyeu- (to shine), which also gave us adjourn, diary, diet, circadian, journal, journey, quotidian, sojourn, diva, divine, Jupiter, Jove, July, Zeus, jovial, deify, and Sanskrit deva (god). Earliest documented use: 1463.

NOTES:
In a hierarchy of workers in a given trade in the guild system, journeymen rank between apprentices and masters. Journeymen had nothing to do with travel. Rather, they were called so because they were paid for a day’s work (unlike apprentices who were indentured; modern-day equivalent: interns or trainees). These days the word is used metaphorically, for people in any line of work, not just in a trade or craft.

USAGE:
“Mike Jones: A journeyman who would have receded into NFL anonymity had he not seized his Super Bowl moment by making a game-ending, title-saving tackle ... in the Rams’ only Super Bowl victory.”
Nate Davis; The 55 Greatest Players in Super Bowl History; USA Today; Jan 30, 2021.

See more usage examples of journeyman in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
As against having beautiful workshops, studios, etc., one writes best in a cellar on a rainy day. -Van Wyck Brooks, writer, critic (16 Feb 1886-1963)

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