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Jill of all trades(, master of none) Options
Daemon
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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Jill of all trades(, master of none)

A woman who is skilled in or adept at a wide variety of tasks or abilities (i.e., the female equivalent of "Jack of all trades"). If used with "master of none," it implies that while competent in a variety things, she is not highly skilled in a particular one. More...

KSPavan
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 2:29:30 AM

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Idiom of the Day
Jill of all trades(, master of none) — A woman who is skilled in or adept at a wide variety of tasks or abilities (i.e., the female equivalent of "Jack of all trades"). If used with "master of none," it implies that while competent in a variety things, she is not highly skilled in a particular one.
Debzzzzz
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 6:56:36 AM

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Jill of all trades, mistress (?) of none.
thar
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 7:22:42 AM

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Applause

If you are going to pun on the first part, you have to follow through!
Cest moi Aussi
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 8:19:17 AM

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Typo in the title, FYI. The "(" and "," have been switched. Very noticeable on a dictionary site, IMO.
monamagda
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 8:33:41 AM

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Meaning

A man who can turn his hand to many things.

Origin


We now use 'Jack of all trades, master of none' in a derogatory way. Originally, this wasn't the case and the label 'Jack of all trades' carried no negative connotation, the 'master of none' part being added later. Nevertheless, medieval Jacks were pretty much at the bottom of the social tree. The OED defines the generic meaning of the name Jack thusly:

Jack - A man of the common people; a lad, fellow, chap; especially a low-bred or ill-mannered fellow, a 'knave'

If 16th century commentators wanted to imply that a person was stretching their talents too thinly they resorted to the disparaging Latin term Johannes factotum ('Johnny do-it-all'). In 1592, the English writer and member of the literary establishment Robert Greene wrote a pamphlet titled Groats-worth of Witte. In that he ventured the opinion that a new writer on the scene was:

"An upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that supposes he is as well able to bumbast out a blanke verse as the best of you. Beeing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey."

Sadly for Greene's ongoing reputation the 'Upstart crow' was William Shakespeare.

Various trades were populated by Jacks - lumberjacks, steeplejacks for example, and sailors were Jack-tars.

There can't have been any trades in the Middle Ages that didn't make use of a jack of some sort. 'Jack of all trades' entered the language in 1612 when Geffray Minshull wrote of his experiences in prison in Essayes and characters of a prison and prisoners:

Some broken Cittizen, who hath plaid Jack of all trades.

The 'master of none' addition began to be added in the late 18th century. The headmaster of Charterhouse School, Martin Clifford, in a collection of notes on the poems of Dryden, circa 1677 wrote:

Your Writings are like a Jack of all Trades Shop, they have Variety, but nothing of value.

In 1770, the Gentleman's Magazine offered the opinion that "Jack at all trades, is seldom good at any."

The earliest example that I can find in print of the actual phrase 'Jack of all trades, master of none' is in Charles Lucas's Pharmacomastix, 1785:

The very Druggist, who in all other nations in Europe is but Pharmacopola, a mere drug-merchant, is with us, not only a physician and chirurgeon, but also a Galenic and Chemic apothecary; a seller of druggs, medicines, vertices, oils, paints or colours poysons, &c. a Jack of all trades, and in truth, master of none.

Maybe taking on 'all trades' wasn't wise but Jacks were often master craftsmen in their chosen trade. History books tell us that Cardinal Wolsey built Hampton Court Palace and that Charles Barry built the Houses of Parliament - don't believe it, it was Jack.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/jack-of-all-trades.html

coag
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 12:23:30 PM

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Debzzzzz wrote:
Jill of all trades, mistress (?) of none.

You made me laugh, Debzzzzz.
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