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See more synonyms for greenhorn on Thesaurus.com
  1. an untrained or inexperienced person.
  2. a naive or gullible person; someone who is easily tricked or swindled.
  3. Slang. a newly arrived immigrant; newcomer.
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Origin of greenhorn

1425–75; late Middle English; see green, horn; orig. applied to cattle with green (i.e., young) horns
Related formsgreen·horn·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for greenhorn

Historical Examples

  • Only a greenhorn is careless of the comfort and welfare of his horse.

    Two Arrows

    William O. Stoddard

  • But little fish are sweet, and he thought he had secured a greenhorn.

    Young Mr. Barter's Repentance

    David Christie Murray

  • Besides, if you are a greenhorn, you act as if you know what you are about.'

  • He told us not to lean out of the windows, not to point, and explained the word "greenhorn."

  • I might have knowed it was some greenhorn, when I heard you coming two points off your course.

British Dictionary definitions for greenhorn


  1. an inexperienced person, esp one who is extremely gullible
  2. mainly US a newcomer or immigrant
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Word Origin

C17: originally an animal with green (that is, young) horns
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

Word Origin and History for greenhorn


mid-15c., "young horned animal," from green (adj.) in sense of "new, fresh, recent" + horn (n.). Applied to new soldiers from c.1650; extended to any inexperienced person by 1680s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper