green·​horn | \ ˈgrēn-ˌhȯrn How to pronounce greenhorn (audio) \

Definition of greenhorn

1 : an inexperienced or naive person
2 : a newcomer (as to a country) unacquainted with local manners and customs

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of greenhorn in a Sentence

He's not the most sophisticated businessman you'll ever meet, but he's no greenhorn. go easy on him—he's just a greenhorn and doesn't have all the experience you do
Recent Examples on the Web Still, circumstances and talent always permit some greenhorns to excel, and that will doubtless be the case again whenever football resumes. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Twenty NFL rookies who could make instant impacts in 2020 season," 19 May 2020 Not all Walmart employees are rolling out the welcome mat for Thompson and his fellow greenhorns. Matthew Boyle, Fortune, "Walmart has already hired 25,000 workers in first week of hiring surge, thanks to streamlined hiring process," 26 Mar. 2020 The one major tweak, introduced by the writer, Michael Green, and the director, Chris Sanders, involves the demeanor of Hal (Dan Stevens), a greenhorn who assumes brief ownership of Buck. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Watching “The Call of the Wild” with an Audience of Dogs," 21 Feb. 2020 Little papers were once part of the farm system for larger papers; greenhorns learned how to read a police blotter before stepping up to the next rung on the media ladder. Washington Post, "The end comes for another local newspaper, 165 years after it began," 30 Jan. 2020 Much of the narrative is occupied by an F.B.I. greenhorn, Jack Solomon (Jack O’Connell), his wife, Linette (Margaret Qualley), and his partner, Carl Kowalski (Vince Vaughn). Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Precarious Descent of “Seberg”," 6 Dec. 2019 The usual end-of-cycle euphoria, which causes companies to make unwise investments and draws greenhorns into speculative assets, is not there. The Economist, "How stories can help explain booms and busts," 10 Oct. 2019 No greenhorn, Marin has been active in Finnish politics since 2012 and is well respected. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Sanna Marin, 34, Is Finland’s Newest—and the World’s Youngest—Prime Minister," 12 Dec. 2019 First, Auburn defensive back Smoke Monday picked off a duck by Alabama greenhorn quarterback Mac Jones and returned it 29 yards to give the Tigers a 17-10 lead. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Auburn, Gus Malzahn seize control of Iron Bowl rivalry," 1 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'greenhorn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of greenhorn

1672, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for greenhorn

obsolete greenhorn animal with green or young horns

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about greenhorn

Time Traveler for greenhorn

Time Traveler

The first known use of greenhorn was in 1672

See more words from the same year

Statistics for greenhorn

Last Updated

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Greenhorn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for greenhorn


How to pronounce greenhorn (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of greenhorn

informal : a person who lacks experience and knowledge


green·​horn | \ ˈgrēn-ˌhȯrn How to pronounce greenhorn (audio) \

Kids Definition of greenhorn

: a person who is new at something

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on greenhorn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for greenhorn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with greenhorn

Spanish Central: Translation of greenhorn

Nglish: Translation of greenhorn for Spanish Speakers

Comments on greenhorn

What made you want to look up greenhorn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!