[ green-hawrn ]
/ ˈgrinˌhɔrn /


an untrained or inexperienced person.
a naive or gullible person; someone who is easily tricked or swindled.
Slang. a newly arrived immigrant; newcomer.

Nearby words

  1. greengrocer,
  2. greengrocery,
  3. greenham common,
  4. greenhead,
  5. greenheart,
  6. greenhouse,
  7. greenhouse effect,
  8. greenhouse gas,
  9. greenhouse whitefly,
  10. greenie

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for greenhorn

British Dictionary definitions for greenhorn


/ (ˈɡriːnˌhɔːn) /


an inexperienced person, esp one who is extremely gullible
mainly US a newcomer or immigrant

Word Origin for greenhorn

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper