phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Journeyman origin?

Posted by R. Berg on January 15, 2003

In Reply to: Journeyman origin? posted by Matt on January 15, 2003

: I have been a journeyman machinist for years now, but until recently I have wondered where the phrase came from and its origins. Many other trades use this title also after a four year apprenticeship program has been completed. I am curious to know from what period this came from and why call an experienced craftsman journeyman. Also I have heard that due to language barriers in Europe durring possibly the middle ages, that tattoo's were applied for your various trade after completion of apprenticeship. Thus allowing you to aquire work in your trade in different countries as a craftsman regardless if you spoke the local dialect or not. kind of a sign that you have"paid your dues" so to speak. Any info about any of this would be appreciated. thank you.

I hadn't heard about the practice of tattooing. Seems to me it would be hard to work in any skilled trade if you didn't know enough of the local language to talk with colleagues and customers. The word "journeyman" has been discussed here recently; typing it in the Search Archives box on the main Discussion Forum page will get you to what was said.