The Meaning of Novice: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of novice? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word novice, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word novice mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word novice is a noun that refers to someone who is inexperienced and who has only been doing an activity or a job for a short time. This is also used in a monastery, religious house or convent to refer to someone who is preparing to become a nun or monk or in the Christian faith and religious community to refer to someone who has just converted and achieved the particular status of being considered a member of the faith or a new member of a religious order. This person might be on a period of probation until mastering a particular subject. Novice is two syllables – nov-ice, and the pronunciation of novice is ˈnɒvɪs.

Many people and things can be novice, including a novice driver, novice racehorse, novice hurdler, novice steeplechaser, novice sportsman, novice oarsman, novice trainee, novice landsman, and more.

There are many other languages that contain words meaning novice. You might notice that many of these words look and sound similarly to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases that mean the same thing as well as look and sound similar across languages. This often happens when the two words or languages share a common Greek or Latin root or language of origin like Latin or Greek. This list of translations of novice is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Russian: новичо́к‎ (masc.), начина́ющий‎ (masc.), дебюта́нт‎ (masc.), дебюта́нтка‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: începător‎, debutant‎
  •  Italian: principiante‎ (m-f), debuttante‎ (m-f), novizio‎ (masc.)
  •  Persian: نوچه‎ (nowče)
  •  German: Neuling‎ (masc.), Anfänger‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: noviisi‎, aloittelija‎, vasta-alkaja‎
  •  Mandarin: 新手‎ (xīnshǒu)
  •  Japanese: 初心者‎ (しょしんしゃ, shoshinsha)
  •  Norwegian: nybegynner‎ (masc.), novise‎ (masc.), novise‎ (fem.)
  •  Maori: ihu hūpē‎, tauhou‎, ika tauhou‎
  •  Spanish: novato‎ (masc.), principiante‎ (m-f)
  •  Dutch: beginneling‎ (masc.), beginnelinge‎ (fem.), beginner‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: nowicjusz‎, debiutant‎
  •  Czech: nováček‎ (masc.), začátečník‎ (masc.)
  •  French: débutant‎ (masc.)
  •  Korean: 승진자‎ (seungjinja)
  •  Latin: inceptor‎, tiro‎
  •  Armenian: սկսնակ‎
  •  Portuguese: novato‎ (masc.)
  •  Turkish: çaylak‎, çömez‎, toy‎
  •  Georgian: ახალბედა‎, დამწყები‎

How can the word novice be used in a sentence?

The word novice can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Below are a few examples of novice. Try making flashcards, bookmarks, or a quiz to memorize this word’s definition and using this word of the day in a sentence today!

The novice minister was very nervous to perform the final vows in front of the congregation at the wedding. He was so nervous that he forgot to say the famous line, “You may now kiss the bride.” He was very embarrassed given the circumstances. 

The runner had to win a specified number or races to be considered at an established level, and no longer a novice. She longed for the recognized prize of being considered a professional sprinter.

The experienced programmers were getting annoyed by the novices who asked them for confirmation on rudiments at every turn. They wished they would only ask them questions when there were bugs on a conditional basis.

What is the word origin of novice?

According to Etymonline, the word novice has been used since the mid-c14 Middle English and comes from the Old French novice, novicia and novitius. This comes from the Medieval Latin novicius/Medieval Latin novīcius convent novice, which is the noun form of the Late Latin novicius/Latin novīcius, a derivative of the Latin novus. The derivative of novus means new. This is of Indo-European roots.

What are synonyms and antonyms of novice?

There are many different words and phrases that someone can use in place of the word novice. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English grammatical device to know. They are an easy way to build your vocabulary, and can help you avoid repeating yourself in conversation and written works. This list of synonyms for the word novice is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  father
  •  tyro
  •  catechumen
  •  cadet
  •  student
  •  novitiate
  •  fish
  •  latecomer
  •  prentice
  •  greenhorns
  •  sisters
  •  apprentice
  •  freshmen
  •  first-year student
  •  mother superior
  •  smatterer
  •  noob
  •  learner
  •  debutant
  •  freshman
  •  new recruit
  •  babe
  •  greenie
  •  cub
  •  potterer
  •  proselyte
  •  pupil
  •  buckwheater
  •  bush leaguer
  •  beginner
  •  prior
  •  abbess
  •  new member
  •  inexperienced
  •  rookie
  •  trainee
  •  amateur
  •  monk
  •  rook
  •  recruit
  •  tiro
  •  dabbler
  •  prioress
  •  neophyte
  •  newbie
  •  canoness
  •  newcomer
  •  colt
  •  brother
  •  new boy
  •  abbot
  •  new person
  •  friar
  •  new kid
  •  sister
  •  abecedarian
  •  inductee
  •  newcomers
  •  trifler
  •  lay people
  •  frosh
  •  punk
  •  intern
  •  noviciate
  •  undergrad
  •  neophytes
  •  new entrant
  •  greenhorn
  •  entrants
  •  layperson
  •  baby
  •  beginners
  •  amateurs
  •  apprentices
  •  junior
  •  entrant
  •  beginning
  •  initiate
  •  boot
  •  postulant
  •  green
  •  layman
  •  probationer
  •  tenderfoot
  •  nun
  •  initiates
  •  starter
  •  fledgling
  •  new kid on the block
  •  novices
  •  nonprofessional
  •  new girl
  •  believer
  •  disciple
  •  raw recruit
  •  blow-in
  •  innocent
  •  dilettante
  •  undergraduate
  •  trainees

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite definition as the word digress. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are also useful to know if you are working on expanding your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word digress is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  apt
  •  been around the block a few times
  •  acquintance
  •  accustomed to
  •  dab
  •  capable
  •  old-timer
  •  artistic
  •  artful
  •  astute
  •  bitheads
  •  bithead
  •  maven
  •  don
  •  strong
  •  coo-coo
  •  ph.d.
  •  maestro
  •  computer literate
  •  good
  •  adequate
  •  able
  •  adept
  •  veteran
  •  abnormie
  •  mistress
  •  advisor
  •  professional staff
  •  old hand
  •  coocoo
  •  vet
  •  commander
  •  expert
  •  crazy
  •  cordon bleu
  •  master
  •  arachnerd
  •  conductor
  •  authority
  •  virtuoso
  •  influencer
  •  wizard
  •  hotshot
  •  instructor
  •  coach
  •  chief officer
  •  adroit
  •  cute
  •  professional
  •  pro

Overall, the word novice means a beginner. This can be used in many industries.


  1. novice: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Novice synonyms – 433 Words and Phrases for Novice | Power Thesaurus  
  3. Novice antonyms – 212 Opposites of Novice | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Novice definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  5. novice | Origin and meaning of novice | Online Etymology Dictionary