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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English apprentice, apprentesse, apprentyse, apprentis, from Old French aprentis, plural of aprentif, from Old French aprendre (verb), Late Latin apprendō, from Classical Latin apprehendō.


  • IPA(key): /əˈpɹɛntɪs/
  • (file)


apprentice (plural apprentices)

  1. A trainee, especially in a skilled trade.
    • 1961 March, C. P. Boocock, “The organisation of Eastleigh Locomotive Works”, in Trains Illustrated, page 163:
      To this end a well-equipped and keenly-run apprentice training school has been in operation at Eastleigh since 1958 and here apprentices are given a good grounding in a number of trades, followed by a thorough training in the trade to which they become allocated.
    • 2022 December 14, “Network News: A pipeline of work key for apprentices”, in RAIL, number 972, page 17:
      Scottish rail suppliers have told the Government that they can only reach their target of employing 500 apprentices if they are given a clear pipeline of work, rather than having to endure the current stop-go programme.
  2. (historical) One who is bound by indentures or by legal agreement to serve a tradesperson, or other person, for a certain time, with a view to learn the art, or trade, in which his master is bound to instruct him.
  3. (dated) One not well versed in a subject; a tyro or newbie.

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apprentice (third-person singular simple present apprentices, present participle apprenticing, simple past and past participle apprenticed)

  1. (transitive) To put under the care and supervision of a master, for the purpose of instruction in a trade or business.
    His father had apprenticed him to a silk merchant.
    He was apprenticed to a local employer.
  2. (transitive) To be an apprentice to.
    Joe apprenticed three different photographers before setting up his own studio.