I'm searching for such a word so I can use it for myself. I'm still young and I sadly have numerous passions for many things but sometimes find myself at a loss, for I know very little in the subject, and I can't find the time to learn all about my interests. Please help me find the word to describe this.

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    You may, for example be an avid golfer, even if you can hardly hit the ball, since "avid" simply means having great enthusiasm for the sport.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 3:32
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    You might need more than one word to convey the idea accurately. You are a passionate novice, an enthusiastic abecedarian, an unschooled aficionado, an eager newbie, a fan on the sidelines. If you learn a little of each of your passions, but never gain full expertise, you're a jack of all trades, master of none. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 5:33
  • Like, getting married ? Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 5:54
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    I would use an "enthusiast."
    – user 85795
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 7:04

3 Answers 3






  • How does 'upstart' qualify to be here?
    – Mamta D
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 4:52
  • Maybe it's a stretch -- but here's a definition that gives a bit of the feel I was thinking of: "characteristic of someone who has risen economically or socially but lacks the social skills appropriate for this new position" (see upstart.askdefinebeta.com). The lack of skills part is what I was thinking about, I suppose. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 5:11
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    Ooh -- ooh -- dabbler! Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 5:11
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    Dilettante is created specifically for this situation. A person who knows a little bit about a topic that they find delight in. Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 4:26

You are aspiring.

aspiring |əˈspī(ə)riNG| adjective [ attrib. ] – directing one's hopes or ambitions toward becoming a specified type of person: an aspiring artist.

It is uncommon, however, to be "aspiring" full-stop. If you are aspiring in many areas, you could use aspirant.

aspirant |ˈaspərəntəˈspīrənt| adjective [ attrib. ] – (of a person) having ambitions to achieve something, typically to follow a particular career: an aspirant politician.

Both of these terms imply that you will one day be skilled, but you're just not there yet.

If you're talking about a hobby or activity for which you expect or intend little improvement, I would use "enthusiastic". When I tell people, "I'm very passionate about basketball, but very terrible at it," they often respond with, "So, you're enthusiastic."

Of course, it only works in some contexts. Alone, "enthusiastic" does not imply adeptness or its lacking.

enthusiastic noun – having or showing intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval

But in a case where skill is being questioned, then it's a great way to imply an absence of ability. For example, it would work if "enthusiastic" is used to substitute "talented" or "good".

A: "Is George a talented dancer?"

B: "Well, George is an enthusiastic dancer."

This is a kind way of saying "no". The two qualities aren't mutually exclusive, but B answered a yes-or-no question by correcting "talented" to "enthusiastic". A should understand now that George may never be a good dancer, but he likes dancing. "Eager," "passionate," and "keen" also work here.



From the ODO:

A person who is new to a subject or activity: four-day cooking classes are offered to neophytes and experts

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