AskDefine | Define rookie

Dictionary Definition

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

User Contributed Dictionary



Thought to be an alteration of recruit. Another reasonable origin is Dutch 'broekie' (short for broekvent, a boy still in short trousers), a common term for a shipmate.



  1. an inexperienced recruit, especially in the police or armed forces
  2. a novice
  3. an athlete either new to the sport, to a team or in his first year of professional competition, especially said of baseball, basketball, hockey and American football players.


  • Beginner
  • Newboy


an inexperienced recruit
a novice


  1. non-professional; amateur
    The game was going well until I made that rookie mistake.

See also

Extensive Definition

''For the Walt Disney Pictures film about Jim Morris, see The Rookie (2002 movie). For the earlier, unrelated Clint Eastwood film, see The Rookie (1990 movie). For the professional poker player, see Brian "Rookie" Wilson.''
Rookie is a term for a person who is in their first year of play of their sport and has little or no professional experience. The term also has the more general meaning of anyone new to a profession, training or activity (e.g. rookie cop, rookie pilot, as a synonym for recruit), or occasionally to a freshman (especially in athletic teams).
Rookies (in the sporting sense) can be submitted to hazing as a pledge in some clubs.
The term rookie has been modified in some online communities and is often referred to as simply rook, as a synonym for newbie.
In some sports there are traditions in which rookies must do things or tricks are played on them. Some examples in baseball include players having to dress up in strange costumes, or getting hit in the face with a cream pie; a traditional rookie "hazing" procedure in American football involves taping players to a goalpost and dousing them with ice water, Gatorade, and other substances.
Generally, a safe definition of rookie card is any trading card manufactured prior to or during an athlete's rookie year. This can come in a variety of formats including packs, boxes, sets, magazines, and more.
In NASCAR, rookies are symbolized by a yellow stripe on the rear bumper of the car that is placed on both sides of the name or symbol of the manufacturer of the car.
To qualify as a rookie in Major League Baseball, a player has to have fewer than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched in the majors, and 45 days on the active rosters of major league clubs (excluding time on the disabled list or any time after rosters are expanded on September 1st)


The Oxford English Dictionary states that the origins are uncertain, but that perhaps it is a corruption of the word recruit. The earliest example from the OED is from Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads (published 1892): So 'ark an' 'eed, you rookies, which is always grumblin' sore, referring to rookies in the sense of raw recruits to the British Army.
A common urban legend suggests that the term derives from the game of chess; the "rook" in chess is often the last piece to be introduced into gameplay. This would appear to be consistent with the definition of "rookie". However, there are no known citations that prove or disprove this explanation.


rookie in Danish: Rookie
rookie in German: Rookie
rookie in French: Rookie
rookie in Italian: Rookie
rookie in Dutch: Rookie
rookie in Swedish: Rookie

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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