jack of all trades

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jack of all trades

A person who is skilled in many different areas. My father could fix cars, build furniture, and program computers—he was a jack of all trades.
See also: all, jack, of, trade
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

jack of all trades someone

who can do several different jobs instead of specializing in one. John can do plumbing, carpentry, and roofing—a real jack of all trades. He isn't very good at any of them. Take your car to a certified engine mechanic, not a jack of all trades.
See also: all, jack, of, trade
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

a jack of all trades

1. If you describe someone as a jack of all trades, you mean that they have many different work skills. His father, after leaving the army, was a jack of all trades.
2. If you describe someone as a jack of all trades, you can also mean that they can do a large number of different things but that they are not very good at doing any of them. His critics sometimes described him as a jack of all trades. Note: You can also say that someone is a jack of all trades and master of none. I believe in specialisation. Too many photographers are jacks of all trades and masters of none. Note: In the past, the name Jack was used to refer to any man or workman.
See also: all, jack, of, trade
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

jack of all trades (and master of none)

a person who can do many different types of work (but has special skill in none).
Jack is used here to mean a ‘general labourer’ or ‘odd-job man’, a sense dating from the mid 19th century.
See also: all, jack, of, trade
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a jack of ˈall trades

a person who can do many different kinds of work, but perhaps does not do them very well: He repairs cars, he paints houses, he makes furniture. He’s a real jack of all trades.
The full expression is ‘jack of all trades and master of none’.
See also: all, jack, of, trade
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

jack of all trades

A person who is good at everything. This term dates from 1600 or before. An early appearance in print is in Geffray Mynshul’s Essayes and Characters of a Prison (1618). Further, it was pointed out even earlier that someone good at everything is not outstanding at anything. This observation occurs in an ancient Roman proverb, but only much later was put as jack of all trades, master of none by Maria Edgeworth (Popular Tales: Will, 1800).
See also: all, jack, of, trade
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

jack of all trades

A versatile person. “Jack” was commonly used as a synonym for “man,” as in “every man jack,” and the phrase was used in a highly complimentary way. But the addition of “and master of none” changed the expression to mean a dabbler or dilettante, which wasn't very flattering at all.
See also: all, jack, of, trade
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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