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[uh-pren-tis] /əˈprɛn tɪs/
a person who works for another in order to learn a trade:
an apprentice to a plumber.
History/Historical. a person legally bound through indenture to a master craftsman in order to learn a trade.
a learner; novice; tyro.
U.S. Navy. an enlisted person receiving specialized training.
a jockey with less than one year's experience who has won fewer than 40 races.
verb (used with object), apprenticed, apprenticing.
to bind to or place with an employer, master craftsman, or the like, for instruction in a trade.
verb (used without object), apprenticed, apprenticing.
to serve as an apprentice:
He apprenticed for 14 years under a master silversmith.
Origin of apprentice
1300-50; Middle English ap(p)rentis < Anglo-French, Old French ap(p)rentiz < Vulgar Latin *apprenditīcius, equivalent to *apprendit(us) (for Latin apprehēnsus; see apprehensible) + Latin -īcius suffix forming adjectives from past participles, here nominalized
Related forms
apprenticeship, noun
unapprenticed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for apprenticeship
Contemporary Examples
  • This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship.

    'We Will Recover' Barack Obama February 24, 2009
Historical Examples
  • He must serve an apprenticeship to one craft and learn that craft all the days of his life if he wishes to excel therein.

    From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling
  • At the expiration of his apprenticeship, in 1832, he came to Ohio.

  • A trade like that of a ship-carpenter requires years of apprenticeship to make a really good workman.

    Peter the Great Jacob Abbott
  • Of his apprenticeship, and the first years of his career, no records exist.

  • Novitiate and apprenticeship in any profession, are difficult.

  • He liked the work just as little as he had in the beginning of his apprenticeship.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • During his apprenticeship he sat up two whole nights every week to study; yet he worked harder during the day than any labourer.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • On the expiry of his apprenticeship he worked for some time as a journeyman plumber.

  • But I suffered from having had no social training or apprenticeship.

    Our Philadelphia Elizabeth Robins Pennell
British Dictionary definitions for apprenticeship


someone who works for a skilled or qualified person in order to learn a trade or profession, esp for a recognized period
any beginner or novice
(transitive) to take, place, or bind as an apprentice
Derived Forms
apprenticeship, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French aprentis, from Old French aprendre to learn, from Latin apprehendere to apprehend
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apprenticeship

1590s, from apprentice (n.) + -ship. Replaced earlier apprenticehood (late 14c., with -hood).



c.1300, from Old French aprentiz "someone learning" (13c., Modern French apprenti, taking the older form as a plural), also as an adjective, "unskilled, inexperienced," from aprendre (Modern French apprendre) "to learn; to teach," contracted from Latin apprehendere (see apprehend). Shortened form prentice long was more usual in English.


1630s, from apprentice (n.). Related: Apprenticed; apprenticing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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