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What is a synonym of jack of all trades, master of none?

I want to differentiate it from a generalist (might have deep knowledge about everything)?

On the same note, is there a better way to say jack of all trades, master of all?

  • How about a specialist hyphen generalist (specialist-generalist)? Apropos of nothing: the phrase "triple threat" can mean a person who can act, direct, and write equally well. So I guess you could call someone a quadruple threat if s/he is a master of four things, a quintuple threat if a master of five, a sextuple threat a master of six, etc. – rhetorician Mar 27 '13 at 20:04
  • For real philologists, "How many languages do you know?" is a difficult question that involves a counting problem. There are languages you know well, then it transitions to a long tail, and where you draw the line is not absolutely straightforward. Calling someone an n-tuple threat becomes hazier for higher values of n. – Christos Hayward Nov 23 '18 at 15:00
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A polymath is a person of encyclopedic learning.

A Renaissance Man is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

A person who is a jack of all trades, but a master of none might be called a dabbler.

  • Being a Polymath and Renaissance Man is the same thing. The later used to indicate a male polymath. Correct answer nevertheless. – Sayan Mar 26 '13 at 13:52
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    @KeyBrdBasher - I agree, the terms are very tightly related. However, I think many people consider polymath to be based on knowledge whereas Renaissance Man (or woman) implies skills (such as artistic ability) which go beyond intellectual abilities. – Joel Brown Mar 26 '13 at 17:54
  • To call someone a polymath or Renaissance Man, however, is to indicate proficiency in a variety of fields, in which a jack of all trades would merely dabble. – choster Mar 26 '13 at 18:08
  • A 'Jack of all trades' is "one who has a smattering of several branches of knowledge." and is not a term related to a polymath or "a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems." – Third News Jun 18 '14 at 14:32
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A dilettante is a person who dabbles in a variety of pursuits but is not dedicated to any particular one.

A sage, a savant, a genius, an expert, a diviner, an Olympian, a guru, a god (small G)--all describe a multi-talented person who is exceedingly capable in seemingly everything and is "master of all." A dilettante, on the other hand, is a "master of none."

The phrase you refer to, by the way, is a rhetorical figure called antithesis, an expression of contrasting elements. In "Jack of all trades, master of none," we have the following contrasts: Jack (a common name and common nickname for John) and master; all and none; trades (plural--many) and trade (implied singular--or one).

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I have seen the use of "factotum" to replace "jack of all trades". I had to look it up the first time I read it.

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A person with several skills may be said to be a generalist.

  • Your link is blocked but Wikipedia list "Generalist may refer to: a person with a wide array of knowledge, the opposite of which is a specialist." This is indeed exactly what a 'Jack of all trades' denotes – Third News Jun 18 '14 at 14:39
  • @ThirdNews : Thanks. I've updated the link. It now directs to the Wiki page. – Autoresponder Jun 18 '14 at 17:09
3

try

  • bricoleur
  • Feynmanesque
  • versatile
  • If you add dictionary references to each of these it would be a much better answer. There are a number of ways to do this: see markdown help. – Sam Jun 18 '14 at 14:59

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