Word: neophyte

Pronunciation: NEE-ə-fyt

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: a person who is new to a subject, skill or belief

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Here’s another interesting word that I’d definitely like to try using more often. I’m actually surprised at myself for not having written about the word “neophyte” sooner, since it did come up in my vocabulary study prep material over a year ago. It would even have been a great choice for one of my first vocabulary posts, since it technically applied to me when I started blogging.

A “neophyte” is someone who is new to a particular subject or activity. The word traces back to the Greek adjective neophutos, meaning “newly planted”. This adjective is comprised of two roots: the adjective neos “new” and the noun phuton “plant”.

Note that “neophyte” may be considered a heavier word to some for its religious sub-definitions, as it also means “new convert” or “a novice in a religious order”, especially in Christianity. This sense of the word evidently arose when St. Paul (1 Tim 3:6) first used it to refer to newly converted Christians. For a more literal definition, “neophyte” can also be used in Biology to refer to a plant species recently introduced to an area. There are several ways to use the word “neophyte”, so whether you write religious fiction or simply like to point out the “newbies” among your characters, this is a great word to keep on your list. Just take care not to come off as a stereotypical “neophyte” writer!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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