a worker who has learned a handicraft or trade and is qualified to work at it usually for another by the day. (Webster)

Does the bold part of sentence means: "...to work at the profession (what he has learned) usually for another person day by day."

Am I correct? Or does it mean something different?

1 Answer 1


A journeyman was paid for each day of his work, as opposed to some master craftsman who would be paid after he has completed a project.

Let's explore the etymology:

Journey: A day's work (from mid-14th century), from Latin diurnus, "of one day".

So, a journey-man was initially a man whose work was measured in days and paid for accordingly.

This initial sense of the word turned somewhat obsolete by 1816, judging by this dictionary entry:

Journeyman: a hired workman; a workman hired by the day. They were called journeymen that wrought with others by the day, though now by statute it be extended to those that covenant to work in their occupation by the year.

Another quote (Two Carpenters, 2006):

A journeyman was a day-wage laborer who usually worked under the general direction of a master.

  • 2
    Nice one - & these days we are paid by the hour, but have zero-hour contracts… sometimes we ought to wish for the old days… & scurvy... ;) Dec 5, 2014 at 20:54

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