Simple Definition of neophyte
: a person who has just started learning or doing something
: a person who has recently joined a religious group
Examples of neophyte in a sentence
<neophytes are assigned an experienced church member to guide them through their first year>
Did You Know?
Neophyte is hardly a new addition to the English language (it's been part of the English vocabulary since the 1300s), but it wasn't in general use before the 19th century. When it was used in a 16th-century translation of the Bible, some folks derided it as pretentious and Latinate. One critic lumped it with other "ridiculous inkhorn terms" and another went as far as to write, "Neophyte, to a bare Englishman is nothing at all." The criticisms of "neophyte" weren't entirely justified, given the word's long history in English, but it is true that "neophyte" has classical roots. It traces back through Late Latin to the Greek neophytes, meaning "newly planted or "newly converted."
Origin and Etymology of neophyte
Middle English, from Late Latin neophytus, from Greek neophytos, from neophytos newly planted, newly converted, from ne- + phyein to bring forth — more at be
First Known Use: 14th century
NEOPHYTE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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