ty·​ro ˈtī-(ˌ)rō How to pronounce tyro (audio)
plural tyros
often attributive
: a beginner in learning : novice

Did you know?

The word tyro is hardly a newcomer to Western language. It comes from the Latin tiro, which means "young soldier," "new recruit," or more generally, "novice." The word was sometimes spelled tyro as early as Medieval Latin, and can be spelled tyro or tiro in English (though tyro is the more common American spelling). Use of tyro in English has never been restricted to the original "young soldier" meaning of the Latin term. Writers in the 17th and 18th centuries wrote of tyros in various fields and occupations, and Herman Melville used tyro to refer to men new to whaling and life at sea. The word also has a long history of being used attributively—that is, directly before another noun—in phrases like "tyro reporter" and "tyro actors."

Choose the Right Synonym for tyro

amateur, dilettante, dabbler, tyro mean a person who follows a pursuit without attaining proficiency or professional status.

amateur often applies to one practicing an art without mastery of its essentials

a painting obviously done by an amateur

; in sports it may also suggest not so much lack of skill but avoidance of direct remuneration.

remained an amateur despite lucrative offers

dilettante may apply to the lover of an art rather than its skilled practitioner but usually implies elegant trifling in the arts and an absence of serious commitment.

had no patience for dilettantes

dabbler suggests desultory habits of work and lack of persistence.

a dabbler who started novels but never finished them

tyro implies inexperience often combined with audacity with resulting crudeness or blundering.

shows talent but is still a mere tyro

Examples of tyro in a Sentence

Most of the people in the class were tyros like me. he's a good musician, but at 14, he's still a tyro and has a lot to learn
Recent Examples on the Web Rabe also steers the movie’s helm, alongside her life partner and fellow actor Hamish Linklater, and the tyro directors manage to thread a tricky needle with their first feature, navigating the chasm and the overlap between agitated and quiet, between cartoon brightness and angst. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 June 2023 This intelligent, sensitive treatment of the rarely seen, everyday lives of young Palestinian citizens of Israel marks tyro feature writer-director Firas Khoury as a talent to watch, as well as a solid acquisition for Film Movement, the North American distributor. Alissa Simon, Variety, 22 Nov. 2022 When a tyro Steve Jobs or Bill Gates moved a lever back and forth, different configurations of those cylinders caused the Digi-Comp to compute Boolean logic operations. Jim Sullivan, Discover Magazine, 30 Oct. 2014 Ayyub played another student leader, a tyro named Shiva Shekhar—not quite the main role, but a key one nevertheless, and a fillip to his career. Samanth Subramanian, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2022 Outfitted in progressively more luscious frocks by Susan Hilferty, Feldstein makes a journey from nervy tyro to nervier pro. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2022 The contenders in the original screenplay field are dominated by repeat WGA and Academy Award nominees with a few breakthrough tyro scribes in the mix. Danielle Turchiano, Variety, 30 Dec. 2021 The songs on the young rock tyro's debut album Teenage Heartbreak (out Friday) channel the irresistible riffs, explosive choruses and mix of lust, heartache, rebellion and angst that defined pop-punk's golden age. John Norris, Billboard, 16 Sep. 2021 But after some barbed back-and-forth and a chase down Deborah’s long driveway, the veteran hires the tyro. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tyro.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Medieval Latin, from Latin tiro young soldier, tyro

First Known Use

1587, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tyro was in 1587


Dictionary Entries Near tyro

Cite this Entry

“Tyro.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tyro. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ty·​ro ˈtī-rō How to pronounce tyro (audio)
plural tyros
: a beginner in learning
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