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Newbie, newb, noob, or n00b is a slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in any profession or activity. Contemporary use can particularly refer to a beginner or new user of computers, often concerning Internet activity, such as online gaming[1] or Linux use.[2][3] It can have derogatory connotations, but is also often used for descriptive purposes only, without a value judgment.

The term's origin is uncertain. Earliest uses probably date to late twentieth century U.S. military jargon, though possible precursor terms are much earlier. Variant forms of the noun include newby and newbee, while the related term noob (often spelt n00b) is often used in online gaming.



Its etymology is uncertain. It may derive from "newie", which is attested in U.S. and Australian sources of the 1850s and means a neophyte in a place or situation; alternatively, it may derive from the British public school slang "new boy" or "new blood", which is attributed to the same era and was applied to a schoolboy in his first term.[4]

In the 1960s–1970s the term "newbie" had a limited usage among U.S. troops in the Vietnam War as a slang term for a new man in a unit.[5] Its earliest known usage on the Internet may have been on the Usenet newsgroup talk.bizarre.[6] The term is believed to have entered online usage by 1981.[7]


Coming from an oral tradition, the term has variant spellings. Among alternative forms are newby, nubie, and "newbee" (e.g. Los Angeles Times of August 1985: "It had to do with newbees. I could be wrong on the spelling, but newbees are the rookies among the Blue Angels...").[4]

Two related terms are "newb", a beginner who is willing to learn; and "noob" (often spelt "n00b" or "nub"), a derogatory name for an inexperienced or under-talented hacker or gamer.[8] "noob" was among candidates for the one-millionth English word selection by the Global Language Monitor.[9][10]

See also

  • FNG, another term for someone new to a unit used in the Vietnam War.
  • Layman
  • Luser, a pejorative term for inexperienced computer users


  1. ^ "". Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ 03:20 AM. "". Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ 04:20 AM. "Ubuntu Forums". Ubuntu Forums. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "newbie" The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989, OED Online, Oxford University Press, (subscription needed) March 8, 2010.
  5. ^ Entry for newbie in John Robert Elting, Ernest L. Deal, and Dan Cragg, A Dictionary of Soldier Talk, New York: Scribner, 1984, p. 209. ISBN 0-684-17862-1
  6. ^ "Newbie". Jargon File. Retrieved May 5, 2009. 
  7. ^ Dyker, Barbara (June 1, 1988). "Re: some (should-be) ground-rules for submissions to comp.binaries.*". comp.sys.mac. Web link. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  8. ^ Broek, Anna Vander (April 23, 2009). "Gamer Speak for Newbs". Forbes. Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  9. ^ Moore, Matthew (May 6, 2009). "One millionth English word could be 'defriend' or 'noob'". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Global Language Monitor: Millionth Word Finalists Announced". Global Language Monitor. May 29, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2009. "N00b – From the Gamer Community; a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term." 

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