I want to display three levels in my game...but I don't know what the text should say.

  • easy -> Beginner

  • medium -> ?

  • hard -> Expert

Basically, I want the form that describes the person playing the game, instead of the game itself. What adjective is best?

I have considered adept.

I doubt my users will know what adept means. Also, I need something in between expert and beginner. Adept falls into the expert category. Is there anything more common that I can use, that has the same impact as the other two words I mentioned?

Proficient would work, theoretically, but in day-to-day use, the levels "beginner - proficient - expert" won't sound great.

  • 2
    Note that adept implies a higher level of proficiency than you intend. It could be used comparably with expert. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 16:45
  • I'd like to closevote as a duplicate of List of expertise levels from beginner to expert, but that has no upvoted or accepted answers. There's also What are common word sets for describing ranks in a profession? and More than an intermediate but less so than an expert, for example. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 16:55
  • you could use "mid-level player". it's simply a fact that many things in English don't have one specific word. there are various obscure options like Debutante. "adept" unfortunately just sounds incredibly silly, like you're a led zeppelin or "Lord of the Rings" nut who does to cosplay conferences. So, don't do that. Yes, you can use "intermediate" even though it's a bit weird. English readers simply realise "there's no word for that other than 'intermediate'" so you can go ahead and use it.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 17:56
  • 2
    Journeyman? It's slightly archaic but still in use to mean someone who can do a high-quality job on simpler tasks but doesn't have the experience and skills needed to handle complex, precise, or large-scale jobs.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 23:18
  • 1
    Games usually use "normal" between easy and hard.
    – ermanen
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 2:19

7 Answers 7


I think the correct word is intermediate, as @Rathony mentioned. It's also a noun, so He is an intermediate is perfectly OK:

intermediate (noun): one that is in a middle position or state.


intermediate noun [countable] [plural intermediates]
a student, player etc who has not yet reached an advanced level

(Macmillan Dictionary)

One classic example is Minesweeper:

enter image description here

@Rathony If you choose to post "intermediate" as an answer I will happily delete mine or edit it to suggest other alternatives.

UPDATE: Some EL&U users have challenged the use of intermediate as a noun. Some went as far as to say that "I'm an intermediate" have never (sic!) been said.

If you doubt this usage, consider this entry from the Oxford American Dictionary:

enter image description here

  • 6
    For a real world example, go look at the classic game Minesweeper. It has three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert.
    – AndyT
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 15:11
  • The example of Minesweeper is an adjective. All three are adjectives here: beginner difficulty, intermediate difficulty, advanced difficulty. I have serious objections with the use of "intermediate" as a noun in this context. As @jackroy mentioned, "intermediate" as a noun usually means "go-between" or "arbiter". You need a better citation.
    – Era
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 16:10
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    @Era- I'd tend to use intermediary as a noun for go-between.
    – Jim
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:02
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    @Era What are the grounds of your objections to the use of "intermediate" as a noun? Most authoritative dictionaries list it. With examples. You might not use it personally, but that's your choice. Please see my updated answer.
    – A.P.
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 20:50
  • Thanks for the suggestion. Seeing it in the example makes a lot more sense. I ha e accepted your answer, but do you mind providing a few more words that I can use besides for intermediate? I am just trying to get as many options as I can, so I can pick the one that feels best. Again, thanks for the word. Let me know :-) PS: sorry for any typos, I am using the stack exchange app. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 12:46

Intermediate is used awkwardly as a noun.

It's most often an adjective as in:

"...intermediate English..."

And when it's used as a noun it most instinctually means a negotiator. Someone who serves as an intermediate between two parties in conflict.

I would recommend the use of journeyman.

It doesn't fit perfectly because of the implication that they will not necessarily improve, but in the history of the word in use, many journeymen have excelled beyond their perceived abilities and become champions, or experts.

  • 1
    I like the "classiness" of "journeyman". I disagree that "intermediate" as an adjective does not "fit" the question requirements -- the implication is "intermediate between beginner and expert". And the more apropos term for the "negotiator" sense is "intermediary" rather than "intermediate".
    – Jeff Y
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 16:45
  • 1
    +1 I came to suggest journeyman if no one else had.
    – Ryan
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:00
  • 2
    Unfortunately if you use " journeyman ", you sound like you're a led zeppelin or "Lord of the Rings" nut who goes along to cosplay conferences. Or worse: someone who goes to " medieval " meets - and has a tent. So, don't do that. Ever. For any reason. It's probably worse than "adept" as mentioned above!
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:01
  • 2
    @JoeBlow: some of my best times have been spent camping in a canvas tent and dressing in medieval-style clothing, with 10,000 of my closest friends. So I don't understand your objection on two levels: 1. there's nothing wrong with any of the activities you describe, and 2. I fail to see an association between the term "journeyman" and the activities described.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:34
  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion, except I think that journeyman would sound odd in the context of game...any other suggestions? +1 :-) Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 12:49

Moderate may fit your needs in terms of difficulty.

average in amount, intensity, quality, or degree.

You could also change the whole system and use amateur, veteran, and professional. This system is all based on nouns, and can be generally compared with experience and pay.


engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional.


a person who has had long experience in a particular field.


a person engaged in a specified activity, especially a sport or branch of the performing arts, as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.

  • "Moderate" is fine, and highlights the fact that there simply IS NOT a noun-like choice, in English. That's just how it is. As I mention, beginner / expert / pro is the only real solution, which is annoying but it works and everyone understands you do it for exactly that reason.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:02
  • @JoeBlow I don't know if I would agree with expert and pro though because the difference between them is difficult to explain in a game-based manner.
    – Jordan.J.D
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:07
  • 1
    Hi Jord, I agree it is "messy" but it's about the only available solution. By all means, "moderate" etc is also ok. Any of the available solutions has problems.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:50

Adept (Virtual Villagers Skill Level)

  1. Begineer
  2. Adept
  3. Mater

Junior Might fit the bill, it indicates a lower but not necessarily lowest rank.

low or lower in rank or status.


In context of game difficulty setting where Beginner is easier and Expert is harder, trying to skip answers that have been mentioned before:

Casual, Normal, Average, Skilled, Challenging, Mortal, Padawan, Student, Soldier

Keep in mind in context of a game difficulty setting it isn't perfectly clear if Beginner and Expert are nouns so the intermediate level doesn't have to be a noun either.


I think you may want to explore using the survey design and analysis principles that have been scientifically accepted for years in the social science field. And they are EASY!

Here's a link to a summary of the principles that may help creating your question and answers and provide you with good data to analyze.wording for rating scales

And if you are really keen on the analysis part, I suggest the following paper for displaying and visually analyzing your results. Plotting Rating Scales

  • 1
    Welcome to ELU. I'm afraid link-only answers don't help, because answers are supposed to be self-contained. Also, it doesn't take much for the links to break. Please summarise the relevant points you want to make, and cite them correctly. This answer may be deleted without that.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 9:26

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