noun nov·ice \ˈnä-vəs\

Definition of novice

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

  2. 2 :  beginner, tyro

Examples of novice in a Sentence

  1. 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

  2. For the novice, walking the course also means being scared senseless by all the possibilities to screw up. —Tim Keown, ESPN, 17 Sept. 2001

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. He's a novice in cooking.

  6. a book for the novice chess player

Recent Examples of novice from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of novice

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin novicius, from Latin, newly imported, from novus — more at new

First Known Use: 14th century

NOVICE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of novice for English Language Learners

  • : 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

NOVICE Defined for Kids


noun nov·ice \ˈnä-vəs\

Definition of novice for Students

  1. 1 :  a person who has no previous experience with something :  beginner a novice at skiing

  2. 2 :  a new member of a religious community who is preparing to take the vows of religion

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


the point at which something begins

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!