Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[roo k-ee] /ˈrʊk i/
an athlete playing his or her first season as a member of a professional sports team:
The rookie replaced the injured regular at first base.
a raw recruit, as in the army or on a police force.
a novice; tyro.
Origin of rookie
1890-95; alteration of recruit; see -y2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for rookie
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And he wasn't forgetting Keesey, the rookie who'd replaced him.

    The Hoofer Walter M. Miller
  • "rookie" is the term by which a new recruit is designated in Army slang.

    Uncle Sam's Boys in the Ranks

    H. Irving Hancock
  • Is it allowable, Sergeant, for a rookie to ask what this is all about?

    Uncle Sam's Boys in the Ranks

    H. Irving Hancock
  • Yet I am convinced that what will best control the Plattsburg rookie is the Plattsburg non-com.

    At Plattsburg

    Allen French
  • Then he was just a busher, a rookie, a nobody who had his reputation yet to win.

    Baseball Joe on the Giants Lester Chadwick
British Dictionary definitions for rookie


(informal) an inexperienced person or newcomer, esp a raw recruit in the army
Word Origin
C20: changed from recruit
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for rookie

"raw recruit," 1892 in that spelling, popularized by Kipling's "Barrack-Room Ballads," of uncertain origin, perhaps from recruit, influenced by rook (n.1) in its secondary sense, suggesting "easy to cheat." Barrère ["A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant," 1890] has "Rookey (army), a recruit; from the black coat some of them wear," so perhaps directly from rook (n.1). Came into general use in American English during the Spanish-American War.

The rapid growth of a word from a single seed transplanted in a congenial soil is one of the curiosities of literature. Take a single instance. A few weeks ago there was not one American soldier in a thousand who knew there was such a word as "rookey." To-day there are few soldiers and ex-soldiers who have not substituted it for "raw recruit." ["The Midland Monthly," December 1898]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for rookie



: The shooting of ''rookie'' patrolman James A Broderick


A newcomer; recruit; tyro: the rookies and substitutes (1892+)

[probably fr shortening of recruit; perhaps fr the black, rook-colored coat worn by some British army recruits]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for rookie

Word Value for rookie

Scrabble Words With Friends