Is there any word (noun?) for a person who is not bad at doing something, yet not too good?

  • Could you be more specific please? There is a wide range of skill levels that falls under this area, making it very difficult to give you an accurate answer. – Zibbobz Nov 7 '13 at 14:49
  • I am looking for the noun to intermediate. For example, 'neophyte' is to 'inexperienced'. – Kruve Nov 7 '13 at 15:29

Journeyman - An experienced and competent but undistinguished worker.

Initially I provided adjectives (included below), apologies for not properly reading the question.

Competent - acceptable and satisfactory, though not outstanding.

If being "above average" is not a requirement, you might also consider mediocre.

Mediocre - of only moderate quality; not very good

  • If you could accompany your downvote with a comment, I will be happy to take advantage of the opportunity to improve my answer. – Lumberjack Nov 7 '13 at 14:49
  • Ooo! Journeyman is a very good answer here. – Zibbobz Nov 7 '13 at 15:24
  • 1
    That's it. Journeyman is what I'm looking for! Thank you Lumberjack! – Kruve Nov 7 '13 at 15:34
  • I actually prefer competent more, but it's an adjective. Is there any noun that could describe that? – Kruve Nov 7 '13 at 15:39
  • @Kruve If this is what you are looking for, make sure you make it your Accepted answer! Also, I would accept 'competent' as a noun in certain cases, but it would be an unusual construct, and unfortunately I can't think of any other good nouns that directly relate to 'competent'. – Zibbobz Nov 7 '13 at 15:41


relating to or having the knowledge or skill of someone who is more advanced than a beginner but not yet an expert


Someone who is capable of performing a task (or a relevant set of tasks depending on context), is categorized as able: having inherent physical or mental ability or capacity.

A more formal/ technical expression could be competent (to do something/ at doing something).

Neither of the above necessarily imply a above-average capability, while at the same time assuring of no deficiency either. He is (just about) able to do it now after 3 weeks' practice.


An above-average person? Beleive it or not, the term "novice" would suffice.

  1. A person new to a field or activity; a beginner.
  2. A person who has entered a religious order but has not yet taken final vows. Also called novitiate.

You wouldn't think, by those definitions, that such a word could mean "not bad, but not good", but you have to read between the lines a bit to get the reasoning for it. Despite a "novice" being very new to an activity, they are still considered a part of the group that does such an acitivity regularly. Their skill level is low, but good enough that they can complete the task.

This is also why the terms rookie and amateur would work - despite the definition referring to them as "new" to the practice, there is an underlying sense that they can still perform the task, if not at a more experienced level.

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    Novice is a complete beginner to me. A novice would never be above average or almost expert – mplungjan Nov 7 '13 at 14:47
  • @mplungjan I would agree, but the question content itself seems to imply looking for someone who 'has skill, but very little', which is why I'm offering this as an answer. I still think it might be what they asker is looking for, but they could offer more clarity on what skill level they are trying to describe. – Zibbobz Nov 7 '13 at 14:50
  • "Above average but not yet too good" - the title is part of the question – mplungjan Nov 7 '13 at 14:51
  • @mplungjan I would argue that someone who is considered a novice is also considered an initiate of whatever they are doing, which WOULD be above-average. The problem here is I am thinking of above the general average, rather than the average among the activity itself, which is why this question neeeds more clarification. – Zibbobz Nov 7 '13 at 14:59
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    @mp - I think this answer has merit. Consider an apprentice plumber. This person could be called a novice in his field – yet that would put him "above average" compared to the rest of the populace. Given the scant details provided by the O.P., I have no problem with this suggestion as part of the conversation. Your answer (intermediate) would be better if the subject of the discussion was limited to those experienced in the field of plumbing. – J.R. Nov 7 '13 at 15:04

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