What is a word for someone who is totally new in something or participates in something for the first time?

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    Informal: "Newbie". Online gaming: "Noob". – Matthew Read Jun 11 '15 at 18:31
  • @MatthewRead: You mean n00b – Tushar Raj Jun 11 '15 at 18:50
  • newbie(Internet version is noob), rookie, greenhorn. There are many more in the thesaurus entry here – TheBro21 Jun 11 '15 at 19:10
  • Please give some indication of the research you have attempted, for example, by checking entries for newcomer in a thesaurus, and why they are unsuitable. Please also provide the context; after all, there are many specialized words for the new which may or may not be appropriate to your needs. – choster Jun 11 '15 at 20:12
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    "Tyro" is another term. – Hot Licks Jun 11 '15 at 20:40


a person who has just started learning or doing something

Novice is derived from the Latin word novus, which means new.

  • A novice is new to what they do, so a novice photographer is just learning how to take nice pictures



The obvious one is novice: "A person new to and inexperienced in a job or situation" (Oxford)

Neophyte is an alternative: "A person who is new to a subject or activity" (Oxford). To me that emphasises newness over inexperience, so it's a bit closer to what you're looking for - though it's quite an obscure word so I'd be cautious about using it.

But neither quite implies "for the first time". If it's important to stress that it literally is the first time, I'd just be explicit and say first-timer (or first-time participant, etc.)


If you want to highlight the 'first-timer' part...

a virgin.

  1. A person who is naive, innocent, or inexperienced in a particular context:

he’s a political virgin



Abecedarian, as a noun, means means either a novice — a person just learning the a-b-c's of something — or it can describe something arranged alphabetically.

* A novice learning the rudiments of some subject.*

  • Say abecedarian and you will notice something peculiar — it sounds like a-b-c-d, and that’s not a coincidence.
    • a child learning how to spell.
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    That's a heck-of-a-word Mysti! I had to look it up myself and have to admit it's odd, but useful! :-) – Kristina Lopez Jun 11 '15 at 21:57
  • hmmm, good to know! good to get you a +1. – weakphoneme Jun 12 '15 at 11:57

A beginner:

  • a person who is starting to do something or learn something for the first time:
    • This judo class is for beginners only.

(Cambridge Dict.)

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