nov·​ice | \ ˈnä-vəs How to pronounce novice (audio) \

Definition of novice

1 : a person admitted to probationary membership in a religious community The novices spend part of each day in prayer and meditation.
2 : beginner, tyro

Did you know?

Among the ancient Romans, a novice (novicius) was usually a newly enslaved person, who had to be trained in his or her duties. Among Catholics and Buddhists, if you desire to become a priest, monk, or nun, you must serve as a novice for a period of time, often a year (called your novitiate), before being ordained or fully professing your vows. No matter what kind of novice you are—at computers, at writing, at politics, etc.—you've got a lot to learn.

Examples of novice in a Sentence

Novices serve time as scullery serfs as they work toward the privilege of trailing a pastry chef … — Guy Trebay, New York Times, 4 Sept. 2002 For the novice, walking the course also means being scared senseless by all the possibilities to screw up. — Tim Keown, ESPN, 17 Sept. 2001 Yet it's obvious to him and everyone else who the novice is here, the book-learned tournament virgin. — James McManus, Harper's, December 2000 Much defter than one would have thought possible from the length of her fingernails, Toula had no fear of high fast notes; her flair, mounted between Andrea's perfectionist reserve and Alice's novice awkwardness, seemed all too displayed. — John Updike, The Afterlife, 1994 He's a novice in cooking. a book for the novice chess player See More
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, use terms like beginner user test or novice user test. Harper’s Magazine , 17 Aug. 2022 But Oak Bluffs Fire Chief Nelson Wirtz said the waters can be dangerous, especially for novice swimmers. Emily Sweeney,, 15 Aug. 2022 Talk about your first day as a novice co-lead opposite the incomparable Jean Smart. Margy Rochlin, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2022 Experience a year in the life of her farm told through monthly episodes – plus the tips, tricks, and tools every gardener – novice or expert – needs to be successful and have fun. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 10 Aug. 2022 Don't Overlook the Finish For a novice home painter, going with a flat finish will afford the most forgiveness, camouflaging imperfections rather than drawing the eye to them. Patricia Shannon, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Aug. 2022 When a freestyle competition presented itself, the eager novice jumped at the opportunity to prove his craft. Walaa Elsiddig, Billboard, 10 Aug. 2022 Upgrade your floss game with a water flosser that even novice users can enjoy. Jacqueline Saguin, Good Housekeeping, 10 Aug. 2022 Nancy Livingston, then an ingenue named Nancy Olson, who portrayed a novice screenwriter and Holden’s love interest, is the last surviving member of the cast. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of novice

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for novice

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, "probationer in a religious community" (continental Old French also, "inexperienced person"), borrowed from Late Latin novīcius, going back to Latin, "newly enslaved person, person recently entered into a condition," as adjective, "newly imported, recently discovered, fashionable," from novus "new" + -īcius -itious — more at new entry 1

Learn More About novice

Time Traveler for novice

Time Traveler

The first known use of novice was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near novice




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for novice

Last Updated

18 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Novice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for novice


nov·​ice | \ ˈnä-vəs How to pronounce novice (audio) \

Kids Definition of novice

1 : a person who has no previous experience with something : beginner a novice at skiing
2 : a new member of a religious community who is preparing to take the vows of religion

More from Merriam-Webster on novice

Nglish: Translation of novice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of novice for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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