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.

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Did You Know?

Among the ancient Romans, a novice (novicius) was usually a newly imported slave, 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
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Recent Examples on the Web For novice cookers, Food Network watchers and seasoned chefs, Zwilling cutlery is pretty much the best of the best. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Zwilling's chef-trusted knives are on sale for up to 70% off right now," 11 June 2020 Uttering the four most dangerous words in investing in the middle of what appears to be a classic speculative mania is asking for trouble, but the latest surge of novice money into sometimes worthless stocks does have some special characteristics. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Davey the Day Trader Deconstructed," 11 June 2020 He was dethroned by Charles Van Doren, the telegenic and suave son of an intellectually prominent family who at the time was a novice English instructor at Columbia University. Washington Post, "Herbert Stempel, whistleblower in quiz show scandals, dies at 93," 31 May 2020 Meanwhile, Mountain Song Expeditions in Vermont offers weekend intensives for novice deer hunters, and eight-month apprenticeships. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, "Why We Suck at Recruiting New Hunters, Why It Matters, and How You Can Fix It," 15 Oct. 2019 The summit was the biggest test yet for Zelensky, a comic actor and political novice who won the presidency this year in a landslide — partly on promises to end the war., "The talks focused on reviving a largely stalled 2015 peace agreement between Ukrainian troops fighting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.," 11 Dec. 2019 Through five restaurants and three decades, Saito has taught novices and masters alike. Stephanie Farr,, "Society Hill's 'Queen of Sushi' says she invented the Philadelphia roll | We the People," 6 June 2018 And the novice — all the groups that opera companies and, in the case of the third, particularly regional opera companies, live to serve. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, "Figaro in Kentucky," 21 Mar. 2020 To thank them for saving her kingdom, Queen Alianor (Emilie Cocquerel) knighted the young novices as Lavinia looked on. Jean Bentley,, "Letter for the King," 20 Mar. 2020

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.

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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 imported slave, person recently entered into a condition," as adjective, "newly imported, recently discovered, fashionable," from novus "new" + -īcius -itious — more at new entry 1

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Time Traveler for novice

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Novice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for novice


How to pronounce novice (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of novice

: a person who has just started learning or doing something
: a new member of a religious group who is preparing to become a nun or a monk


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on novice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for novice

Spanish Central: Translation of novice

Nglish: Translation of novice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of novice for Arabic Speakers

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