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See also: néophyte



Borrowed from Latin neophytus, from Ancient Greek νεόφυτος (neóphutos, newly planted), from νέος (néos, new) + φυτόν (phutón, plant, child). Surface analysis is neo- +‎ -phyte.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈni.əˌfaɪt/
  • (file)


neophyte (plural neophytes)

  1. A beginner; a person who is new to a subject, skill, or belief.
    Synonyms: beginner, newbie, newcomer, starter; see also Thesaurus:beginner
    • 1927, M[ohandas] K[aramchand] Gandhi, chapter XVII, in Mahadev Desai, transl., The Story of My Experiments with Truth: Translated from the Original in Gujarati, volume I, Ahmedabad, Gujarat: Navajivan Press, →OCLC:
      A convert's enthusiasm for his new religion is greater than that of a person who is born in it. Vegetarianism was then a new cult in England, and likewise for me, because, as we have seen, I had gone there a convinced meat-eater, and was intellectually converted to vegetarianism later. Full of the neophyte's zeal for vegetarianism, I decided to start a vegetarian club in my locality, Bayswater.
    • 2016 October 16, “Third Parties”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 26, HBO, spoken by John Oliver:
      [] everyone has to own the floors of whoever you vote for, whether they are a lying handsy narcissistic sociopath [] or a conspiracy-pandering political neophyte with no clear understanding of how government operates and who once recorded this folk rap about the virtues of bicycling.
  2. A novice (recent convert); a new convert or proselyte; a new monk.
    Synonyms: novice, proselyte
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 107:
      The neophyte was given a new name in place of the baptismal one, usually of an evil and revolting character, and this was written in blood in the Devil's book, the covers of which were bound in the skin of unbaptised infants.
  3. (Christianity) A name given by the early Christians, and still given by the Roman Catholics, to those who have recently embraced the Christian faith, and been admitted to baptism, especially those converts from heathenism or Judaism.
    Synonym: catechumen
  4. (botany) A plant species recently introduced to an area (in contrast to archaeophyte, a long-established introduced species).
    Antonym: archaeophyte



  • Random House Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1987.

Further reading[edit]






  1. vocative masculine singular of neophytus