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[nov-is] /ˈnɒv ɪs/
a person who is new to the circumstances, work, etc., in which he or she is placed; beginner; tyro:
a novice in politics.
a person who has been received into a religious order or congregation for a period of probation before taking vows.
a person newly become a church member.
a recent convert to Christianity.
Origin of novice
1300-50; Middle English novyce < Middle French novice < Medieval Latin novītius convent novice, variant of Latin novīcius newly come into a particular status, derivative of novus new. See -itious
Related forms
novicehood, noun
novicelike, adjective
1. newcomer. 1, 2. neophyte. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for novices
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Excuse me for insinuating by this expression, that there may yet be amongst you some novices.

  • “Harvest is an inappreciable quantity, especially to novices,” he said.

    The Carbonels Charlotte M. Yonge
  • When the sillera belongs to a monastery, the higher stalls are for the profesos, and the lower for the novices and legos.

  • "It would, perchance, be best that the novices be not admitted," suggested the master.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • One case or chest contained the books of the novices, whose place of study was in that part of the cloister facing the treasury.

    Old English Libraries Ernest Savage
  • They, I know right well, when matched with us, will prove but novices in war.

    Cyropaedia Xenophon
British Dictionary definitions for novices


  1. a person who is new to or inexperienced in a certain task, situation, etc; beginner; tyro
  2. (as modifier): novice driver
a probationer in a religious order
a sportsman, esp an oarsman, who has not won a recognized prize, performed to an established level, etc
a racehorse, esp a steeplechaser or hurdler, that has not won a specified number of races
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin novīcius, from novus new
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for novices



mid-14c., "probationer in a religious order," from Old French novice "beginner" (12c.), from Medieval Latin novicius, noun use of Latin novicius "newly imported, newly arrived, inexperienced" (of slaves), from novus "new" (see new). Meaning "inexperienced person" is attested from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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