The famous idiom “Jack of all trades, master of none” means that someone can do a lot of things, but none of them are done particularly well. This article will look at some good one-word options that you can use as a synonym for this idiom.
The preferred alternatives are “generalist,” “polymath,” and “dabbler.” You can use these when you want to show that someone has a lot of skills to their name, though they might not be brilliant at any of the things that they have particular skills in.
“Generalist” is a great way of showing that someone is not specialized. While they have a lot of knowledge in many areas, they wouldn’t call themselves a “specialist” if you were to ask them what they do.
This often gives them more knowledge and abilities to choose from when someone needs help from them. While they aren’t perfect, they are well-rounded and know a lot about many things.
The definition of “generalist,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “(someone who is) not specialized.”
- I’m a bit of a generalist, to be honest. I try and develop my skills in the areas that I’m good at, but I have a hard time doing that.
- I thought you were quite good as a generalist. Now that you’re trying to be more specialized, I don’t think you’re bringing much to us.
- She’s a generalist. You can ask her questions about what she does, and she’ll answer you, but she definitely needs some work.
“Polymath” is a stronger word that works best when someone is close to “mastering” all of the things they know. It works best when someone knows a lot of information relating to many different things.
The definition of “polymath,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who knows a lot about many different subjects.”
- As a polymath, I think Matthew should be able to give you the help you might be looking for. He knows a lot about a lot. You’ll see.
- I thought you were a polymath. That’s why I came to you looking for help. I just assumed that you’d know what to do next.
- I’m not a very good polymath, but I do have a lot of information that could help you, relating to a lot of different things around here.
“Dabbler” is a good word that directly comes from “Jack of all trades.” It shows that someone likes to learn about different subjects and try different things, but they often won’t put serious effort into anything they learn.
A “dabbler” usually learns a lot about a lot, but they won’t be able to demonstrate more than a basic or above-average understanding of something because they didn’t take it seriously enough.
The definition of “dabbler,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “someone who takes a slight and not very serious interest in a subject, or tries a particular activity for a short period.”
- She’s a dabbler. I’ve noticed that she’s always happy to learn about new things, but she never invests enough time into those things to help her.
- I knew you were nothing more than a dabbler. While you seem to know a lot, you don’t have any specialized knowledge that will help.
- I’m not just a dabbler. I do tend to take my knowledge a little bit further, but only when I find something that really grabs me.
“Dilettante” is a good word of French origin that means that someone doesn’t spend a lot of time learning their skills. They’ll make sure that they have them as a bare minimum, but they won’t put much more effort into them once that’s done.
- She’s a dilettante, so you shouldn’t take her too seriously. She’s good at acting like she knows a lot, but I’d take that with a pinch of salt.
- I’m not a dilettante. I promise that I’ve spent a lot of time learning all about this. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.
- As a dilettante, I really don’t think that he’s the person you should be asking. I just don’t think he knows enough about any of this stuff.
“Factotum” is a general word that works in the business world. It shows that someone is employed by a company to do a lot of different jobs for someone without having any main specialties.
It’s most common for building maintenance or janitorial jobs to fall into this “factotum.” It just means that they could be asked to do anything that will be able to help out the company or the boss in some way.
The definition of “factotum,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person employed to do all types of jobs for someone.”
- He’s become a bit of a general factotum for the company. He can do a lot, but he doesn’t seem to belong to a specific role, which is strange.
- I’m just the token factotum. I would love to do more with the company, but I don’t think they can trust me after what happened last time.
- I’m not going to be a factotum forever. At some point, they’re going to see my talents for what they are. I’ll have a better role soon.
“Versatile” is a positive word you can use to show that you can handle a lot of things. You will be able to change from one activity to another without getting overwhelmed by the different demands that each of the activities might put on you.
The definition of “versatile,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “able to change easily from one activity to another or able to be used for many different purposes.”
- I know you’re quite versatile, which is why I came to you for help. I think you’re just the man for a job like this, to be honest.
- I’m very versatile, and I’m happy to bring some of that spirit along with me to a job like this. I think I’ll impress you with what I can do.
- I’m not as versatile as you seem to think I am. Believe me, I do what I can, but sometimes I still don’t really know what I’m supposed to say.
“Well-rounded” shows that someone is good at a variety of things. It allows them to show their experience and knowledge in different fields. You can usually rely on them to help you out with something that might not even relate to what they usually do.
“Well-rounded” people tend to spend a lot of time studying or researching new ways to do things. They want to make sure they’re “good” at things without necessarily becoming a “master.”
- Dan is a well-rounded employee. I would encourage you to ask him more about what’s happening here. He should help you understand.
- I thought you were well-rounded enough to help out with something like this. To be honest, I still believe you can give us a hand.
- She’s very well-rounded because she spends a lot of time researching things to help her. I’m quite surprised by what she can do, honestly.
“Renaissance man” (or woman) works well to show that someone is good at many different things. You can use it to show that they know how to do a lot, and they are usually close to being a “master” in all of those things.
The definition of “Renaissance man,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a man who does many different things very well.”
- It’s Matt! He’s a bit of a Renaissance man, so try not to feel too intimidated by the things he can do. He’s just that impressive.
- I thought I was quite a Renaissance man myself, but it turns out that there are many people out there that are just so much better than me.
- She’s a Renaissance woman. That’s for sure. I’ve never seen someone do so many different things as well as that.
“Triple threat” works best when there are three main talents or abilities that someone needs to have. For example, someone might need to sing, dance, and act well if they want to perform on stage. They would be a triple threat if they could do all three things.
The definition of “triple threat,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who is skilled in three different areas, especially a performer who can act, dance, and sing well.”
- He’s the triple threat we’ve been looking for. He’s got everything we need from a client, and I think we would be foolish not to hire him.
- I’m the triple threat to the music industry. I can do everything really well, and I’m looking forward to working with you.
- You’re not that much of a triple threat. I’d say you do two of these things well, but you’re not great at that third one.