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workman +‎ -like


  • IPA(key): /ˈwɜː(ɹ)kmənlaɪk/
    • (file)


workmanlike (comparative more workmanlike, superlative most workmanlike)

  1. Resembling or characteristic of a workman.
    • 1957, Neville Shute, chapter 3, in On the Beach[1], New York: William Morrow & Co:
      She was dressed in khaki, khaki slacks and khaki shirt, practical and workmanlike.
  2. Done competently but without flair.
    • 1959 February, A. G. Dunbar, “The "Dunalastair I" 4-4-0s of the Caledonian”, in Trains Illustrated, page 85:
      In appearance the new 4-4-0s were magnificent engines for the period in which they were built; the boiler, bulging over the typical Drummond splasher, gave the engine a sturdy, workmanlike look, and the blue livery enhanced a picture of sleek, powerful, efficiency.
    • 1999, Andrew Graham-Dixon, A History of British Art, Univ of California Press, →ISBN, page 120:
      Even his most matter-of-fact, workmanlike paintings are charged with an entirely personal morbidity.
    • 2002, Tom Friedman, Germano Celant, Fondazione Prada (Milan, Italy), Mario Perniola, Tom Friedman, Progetto Prada Arte
      The tandem arrangement does not misuse Close, for he has gotten decades of acclaim for a tedious, workmanlike art.
    • 2014, Scott Winfield Sublett, Screenwriting for Neurotics: A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Feature-Length Screenplay from Start to Finish, University of Iowa Press, →ISBN, page 190:
      Clear, workmanlike prose will do fine, and polishing up the prose is for the second draft.
    • 2023 September 13, Gary Shteyngart, “Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson review – arrested development”, in The Guardian[2], →ISSN:
      Isaacson comes from the “his eyes lit up” school of cliched writing, the rest of his prose workmanlike bordering on AI.
  3. Performed with the skill of an artisan or craftsman. (Can we add an example for this sense?)

Coordinate terms[edit]