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 formsnov·ice·hood, nounnov·ice·like, adjective

Synonyms for novice

1. newcomer. 1, 2. neophyte. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for novice

Contemporary Examples of novice

Historical Examples of novice

  • The novice should not attempt a glide unless the conditions are just right.

    Flying Machines

    W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

  • I could see myself like the novice who had just been admitted as a nun.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • I was a novice at honest work, and any special exertion was not then to my taste.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • The novice then laid his hand upon his breast and bent before him.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • To which the novice (being to that end instructed by his attendant sponsors) replied 'I do!'

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for novice



  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 for novice

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

Word Origin and History for novice

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