AskDefine | Define greenhorn

Dictionary Definition

greenhorn n : an awkward and inexperienced youth [syn: cub, rookie]

User Contributed Dictionary



Unconfirmed. Hypotheses include:
  • Middle English greene horn, the horn of a newly slaughtered animal
  • From the reference to an animal with green (that is, young) horns
  • From 17th century jewellery manufacturing which used decorated horn which was impressed at a specific temperature. If heated too high (a common mistake by apprentices), the horn turned green.


  1. In the context of "mostly|US": an inexperienced person; a novice, beginner or newcomer


inexperienced person

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Greenhorn is slang for an inexperienced person.
Greenhorn can also refer to:
greenhorn in German: Greenhorn
greenhorn in Dutch: Greenhorn
greenhorn in Polish: Greenhorn
greenhorn in Volapük: Greenhorn

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abecedarian, alphabetarian, apprentice, arriviste, articled clerk, babe, baby, beginner, boob, boot, catechumen, chump, cinch, credulous person, cull, dabbler, deb, debutant, dilettante, dull tool, dunce, dupe, easy mark, easy pickings, emigrant, entrant, fall guy, fish, fledgling, fool, freshman, gate-crasher, gobe-mouches, greener, greeny, gudgeon, gull, ignoramus, illiterate, illiterati, immigrant, incapable, incompetent, inductee, infant, initiate, innocent, intruder, know-nothing, leadpipe cinch, learner, lowbrow, mediocrity, middlebrow, monkey, neophyte, nestling, new arrival, new boy, newcomer, no conjuror, no scholar, novice, novitiate, novus homo, parvenu, patsy, pigeon, plaything, postulant, prize sap, probationer, probationist, puddinghead, pushover, raw recruit, recruit, rookie, sap, saphead, schlemiel, settler, sitting duck, squatter, stooge, stowaway, sucker, tenderfoot, toy, trainee, trusting soul, tyro, unintelligentsia, upstart, victim
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