What is a word for a person with a skill level that is not quite as low as a beginner but not in any way competitive?

e.g. I enjoy running and have a reasonably good fitness level compared to the average person, however, I wouldn't be able to compete with anyone who takes it properly seriously.

I was thinking "amateur" but there are amateur runners who compete in races, are members of athletic clubs, etc. and would easily outrun me. But I am also not a beginner.

(Similar with poker - One could have enough knowledge of the basic tactics to regularly beat a beginner but not anyone who takes it in any way seriously even if they themselves are not a professional)


A dabbler is someone who casually engages in the activity but not seriously. The idiom "I dabble…" is often used as false-modesty, or to avoid rating their actual (uneven) skill level.

A hobbyist is more serious but still unprofessional. The activity may take up much of their relaxation time but it is not their day job.

An enthusiast might be quite knowledgable about the activity, even if they do not perform it well.


I would go with Journeyman:

an experienced reliable worker, athlete, or performer

in your example, it would be

I am a journeyman runner

If I heard you refer to yourself like this, I would think "skilled but not at an Olympic level, certainly better than most"

  • Not really what I'm after, I'm looking for, not as good as most runners, but better than someone who doesn't run.
    – colmde
    Oct 3 '18 at 21:40

Intermediate. Amateur says nothing about your skills, just means you are not a paid professional. "Intermediate describes something or someone in the middle, between two distinct phases, like an intermediate swimmer who has mastered the basic strokes but isn't yet ready to join the racing team." https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/intermediate

  • I may be wrong here, but calling someone an intermediate with reference to their skills sounds strange to me. The dictionary definitions do give intermediate as noun, but they usually say something like "something/someone who is intermediate" or "an intermediary" or a chemistry-specific definition. None I've seen make any reference to skill level. Not sure how "a chess intermediate" or "an intermediate at soccer" sounds.
    – Zebrafish
    Oct 3 '18 at 17:31
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    – MetaEd
    Oct 3 '18 at 19:40

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