Nunes: 'The President Is a Neophyte to Politics'

The word means 'a beginner'

Neophyte (“a beginner”) was one of our top lookups on the afternoon of March 7th, after it was used by Representative Devin Nunes to describe Donald Trump.

The word dates back to the 14th century, but did not see considerable common usage until the 19th. Although all the meanings of neophyte are concerned with a person who is new to something, until the beginning of the 17th century it had the specific meaning of “a new convert” (especially a convert to the Christian faith). The word may be traced back to the Greek neophytes, meaning “newly planted,” or “newly converted.”

Around 1600 neophyte began to be used to refer in a more generalized sense, to refer to one who is a beginner (in a non-religious sense).

Away Neophite, doe as I bid; bring my deare George to me.
—Ben Jonson, The Comicall Satyre of Euery Man Out of his Humor, 1600

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