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The definition is:

A person just starting to learn a skill or take part in an activity

Which makes me think it's time-related, although I see it's used as a synonym for novice which relates to skill.

What exactly does it mean?

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closed as general reference by Mehper C. Palavuzlar, kiamlaluno, simchona, MrHen, Hugo Dec 12 '11 at 21:29

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If we think about these phrases, 'He is an eternal beginner.' (sarcastic- 'he never really learns') and 'He is a quick starter.' (praise- 'he learns pretty fast'), I think beginner relates to skill and not time. You begin to learn, and will be a beginner until you have learnt something.

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1  
@mplungjan: You beat me to it by 31 secs! The time it took me to type out the answer :) – Kris Dec 8 '11 at 9:42
    
Mplungjan is not a beginner at speed-typing. :-) – Monica Cellio Dec 8 '11 at 15:51

In my opinion: Skill unless referring to someone who founded something

You can be a beginner forever.

beginner

someone new to a field or activity initiate, tiro, tyro, novice
unskilled person - a person who lacks technical training
abecedarian - a novice learning the rudiments of some subject apprentice, prentice,
learner - works for an expert to learn a trade cub, greenhorn,
rookie - an awkward and inexperienced youth landlubber, landsman,
lubber - an inexperienced sailor; a sailor on the first voyage fledgeling, fledgling, newbie, newcomer, entrant, freshman, neophyte,
starter - any new participant in some activity
tenderfoot - an inexperienced person (especially someone inexperienced in outdoor living)
trainee - someone who is being trained

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