Definition of apprentice in English:



  • 1A person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages.

    [as modifier] ‘an apprentice electrician’
    • ‘It is often asserted that by keeping wages low for apprentices, employers will automatically take more on.’
    • ‘In preparation for this four-year course he has been attempting to find a plumber who would be willing to take him on during this period as an apprentice.’
    • ‘In traditional apprenticeship models, apprentices learn a trade or skill through working closely with expert trades-people.’
    • ‘Boys, too, were often encouraged to go to technical schools or to begin work as an apprentice in a trade.’
    • ‘Up to thirty skilled men and apprentices were employed from the surrounding villages, coming to work on foot or by bicycle.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter how much money we give employers to take on apprentices in tradition trades - in gas fitting, in tiling, in welding and carpentry.’
    • ‘Many of the rest are working for their families, on the land, in small artisanal businesses, or as apprentices in trades that their families have carried out for generations.’
    • ‘Learning the trade and being an apprentice for years only to then acquire years of on the job experience is what custom furniture is all about.’
    • ‘They also sought to limit the number of apprentices entering their trades, because of the inevitable consequence of depressing wage rates; this has remained a feature of some craft unions to this day.’
    • ‘This language has an old-fashioned ring, and was designed for a minor becoming an apprentice in a skilled trade.’
    • ‘The past few years have seen a sharp increase in the number of apprentices, especially in the construction trades.’
    • ‘There was also an alarming 15 percent decline in the number of apprentices in training, comparing the same periods.’
    • ‘Real learning begins with an apprentice working at the elbow of a master craftsman, but there were not enough scholarly elbows to go around as the numbers swelled.’
    • ‘Of 16 apprentices in an electrician's training program, three are women.’
    • ‘Others might go for a while to a secondary school to receive further instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then be sent for training in crafts or trades, often as apprentices to a master in whose household they would live.’
    • ‘Trade apprentices are charged the fee for the two 10-week periods they spend as part of their training at the colleges.’
    • ‘Younger members of the family came into the business as apprentices, learning the trade, and eventually inheriting the business.’
    • ‘Rob left education at sixteen and became an apprentice for an electrician.’
    • ‘Around 150 skilled men joined the apprentices in protest.’
    • ‘In the past the minimum wage never applied to apprentices who were employed under the Apprenticeship Act.’
    trainee, learner, probationer, tyro, novice, mentee, neophyte, raw recruit, fledgling, new boy, new girl, novitiate
    pupil, student
    beginner, starter
    rookie, greenhorn, tenderfoot
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually as modifier]A beginner at something.
      ‘an apprentice confidence trickster’
      • ‘The station was loaded up with apprentice bingo callers and Algonquin grads who were grateful to have a job.’
      • ‘The stricken animal tangled with another horse, Don Argento, felling his fellow apprentice jockey.’
      • ‘With 239 winners to his credit, he leads all other apprentice riders in wins and ranks 17th overall through Wednesday.’
      • ‘Trainers use apprentice riders because they get a five-pound weight advantage.’
      • ‘Each summer, the company invites a boatload of bright young apprentice singers, all hoping for some quality stage experience.’
      • ‘We can no longer think of ourselves as apprentice angels.’
      • ‘The Cappagh County Waterford rider was crowned leading apprentice jockey in England for 2004 and he celebrated by riding a winner at Royal Ascot.’
      • ‘Britain's champion apprentice rider two years ago, he will take up a new post as a stable-jockey near Thirsk when the Flat turf season kicks into gear in March.’
      • ‘Including the source code in a virus is like adding DIY instructions for apprentice hackers, since it makes it easier for the less-skilled to make many more versions of new viruses.’
      • ‘And this apprentice Goon will sadly mourn his passing.’
      • ‘Two furlongs out, the field bunched and the apprentice jockey moved his mount out to try to get a run from fifth place.’
      • ‘The twenty four year-old apprentice novelist volunteered to fight for the League and was injured in ‘face and chest’.’
      • ‘To help young jockeys get a foothold in the sport, those under 26 can claim a weight allowance in certain races (they are known as apprentice jockeys).’
      • ‘So now we have ‘chief entrepreneurs’ - but perhaps we need some other titles, such as apprentice entrepreneur?’
      • ‘Rose, 26, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the Eclipse Award outstanding apprentice jockey in 2001.’
      • ‘Young people are amongst the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs - or apprentice millionaires - in Australia.’
      • ‘The man, last year's champion apprentice jockey, had no trouble finding the winner's circle at Del Mar.’
      • ‘A last-minute mount became the first winner for the apprentice jockey at Bay Meadows Race Course on Saturday.’


  • 1 Employ (someone) as an apprentice.

    ‘Edward was apprenticed to a printer’
    • ‘Following the death of his brother Geoff, in 1947, he was apprenticed to his father, a renowned blacksmith's farrier.’
    • ‘Boys were apprenticed to a master until they were 24 years old.’
    • ‘He left the Blue Coat School at 14, when he was apprenticed to the grocery trade.’
    • ‘On leaving school, Walter was briefly apprenticed to a chemist in Birmingham and spent his leisure time attending medical lectures.’
    • ‘At about the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a sign painter in whose shop his work included painting tinned cans.’
    • ‘He was apprenticed to a local painter-decorator, 1905-9, then studied at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts, 1910-14.’
    • ‘He was then apprenticed to a cabinet maker, receiving a thorough training in woodworking.’
    • ‘The artist may be said to have been his own master, because, even when he was apprenticed to a painter he was taught less than he already knew.’
    • ‘In 1706 he was apprenticed to a printer (as his father could not afford to enter him for the Church), and in 1715 he was admitted a freeman of the Stationers' Company.’
    • ‘At the age of 15 years, he was apprenticed to an ironmaster's firm in Aberdeen, but a breakdown in health prevented him from continuing this pursuit.’
    • ‘So it happened that beginning at age six I was apprenticed to an old world craftsman.’
    • ‘When I was fourteen I was apprenticed to a dental mechanic for a five-year apprenticeship.’
    • ‘At twelve, he was apprenticed to his brother James, who had set up as a printer.’
    • ‘Women have been banned from the stage for years and pretty boys are apprenticed to theatre owners to learn stagecraft and female roles.’
    • ‘As a youth he was apprenticed to a tailor until about the age of sixteen when reconciliation with his wealthy grandfather enabled him to be educated at Oxford.’
    • ‘William was apprenticed to a cobbler and was a trained journeyman by the age of 11.’
    • ‘This was also the period in which young women were apprenticed to seamstresses, to prepare their trousseau and be initiated into the skills of seduction.’
    • ‘His career spanned over eighty years, beginning when he was apprenticed to an artist at the age of 10, and only ending at his death from plague at the age of 91.’
    • ‘He was apprenticed to a photographer, and soon established his own business in Bath.’
    • ‘I was apprenticed to my father, but there was no joy in working with him.’
    1. 1.1North American [no object]Serve as an apprentice.
      ‘she apprenticed with midwives in San Francisco’
      • ‘It is also part of the way of Wicca that those who have apprenticed and learned their lessons from their teachers eventually leave to start their own group.’
      • ‘Sons apprenticed with dads, and daughters learned from moms.’
      • ‘He apprenticed with his father, a watchmaker, before moving to Switzerland, to work as a journeyman in Basel, and then to Neuchatel to study watchmaking.’
      • ‘As he opened his mouth, I expected him to yell at me, but, instead, he said calmly, ‘I had apprenticed… as a carpenter.’’
      • ‘What am I apprenticing for that would require… this?’
      • ‘Trained together, they apprenticed together and turned pro at nearly the same time; it's likely they've been friendly rivals for at least half their lives.’
      • ‘He's apprenticing as a merchant in Olbeer now, so I only hope he's not getting into trouble.’
      • ‘After graduating, she apprenticed at various textile and design studios in New York.’
      • ‘Although I apprenticed and am initiated into Wicca, I am well aware that what each teacher teaches is, to a greater or lesser degree, their version.’
      • ‘There she apprenticed for three years with a Portuguese framer.’
      • ‘But while workshops are helpful, those who truly want to master certain styles have always apprenticed with teachers who specialize in those styles.’
      • ‘After apprenticing at a St. Paul publishing firm, he joined the army.’
      • ‘In fact, 10 of the 11 high-end designers interviewed had apprenticed in one or more leading design companies before they took the helm themselves.’
      • ‘Michel spent a year apprenticing but he's clumsy and often drunk, so nobody really trusts him.’
      • ‘Either you apprentice with a Master or inherit the job.’
      • ‘Then they apprenticed with one of their parents for a year.’
      • ‘‘She has apprenticed under several shrine maidens as well as sword masters,’ noted one of the princesses.’
      • ‘Instead of going to college, young Taylor opted to go to work at the racetrack, where he apprenticed in nearly every phase of training Thoroughbreds.’
      • ‘I apprenticed for a well known barrel racer my last year.’
      • ‘He founded his own business in the mid 1970s, and by 2004, at least fifteen master artists currently heading their own studios had apprenticed under him.’


Middle English: from Old French aprentis (from apprendre learn from Latin apprehendere apprehend), on the pattern of words ending in -tis, -tif, from Latin -tivus (see -ive).