Is there a word (probably slang), that describes the slight state of shock common to new recruits in the first days (weeks) of military training, or the recruit suffering from that mild state of shock? I'm looking for a term that's slightly pejorative, but used in the understanding that the speaker has been there too. (The terms used in the Israeli Defence Forces for what I'm trying to convey translate as 'young' and 'open-mouthed'. I'm trying to express the same in English.)

I think I've seen "green" used similarly, in a Wild-West context (in a translation of Karl May), but I'm not sure whether it's used like that today.

  • 2
    There may be another word, but green is still used to describe someone new and untested.
    – Zan700
    May 13, 2018 at 1:49
  • 2
    Does "noob" get used ? I gotta think it gets tossed around a bit .. most of the young men and women who enlisted certainly played at least the first person shooter games where the term spread into from other types of computer games ? dictionary.com/browse/noob a newbie, especially a person who is new to an online community and whose online participation and interactions display a lack of skill or knowledge
    – Tom22
    May 13, 2018 at 18:01

3 Answers 3


A person in such a context as the OP explained can be said to be a dewy-eyed or in a dewy-eyed situation.

dewy-eyed (adjective):​ having eyes that are wet with tears because you feel emotional.

dewy-eyed nostalgia. ​

not knowing about unpleasant things and having no experience of life:

a dewy-eyed bride


The new recruits are experiencing or suffering from culture shock which American Heritage (vie TFD defines as:

A condition of confusion and anxiety affecting a person suddenly exposed to an alien culture or milieu.

They’ll adapt to the new military culture in time, but, as you say, the first few weeks are a shock to the system.

It’s not a military-specific term and could apply to other situations where someone is introduced to a new culture.


FNG Syndrome wikipedia

Military term, 'Fxxxxxg New Guy': someone just out of training who either hasn't proved his worth or doesn't know how to operate properly due to lack of experience. A non-person, a pariah to be shunned and scorned, almost >vilified, until he passed that magic, unseen line to respectability.

Used in the civilian sector too!

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