Skip to main content

What is a rookie? Where does the word come from?

Ryder Cup rookies 2014
A rookie is someone recently promoted to a higher level of competition or responsibility 

The word is most commonly used in American sports commentary to describe a team player in their first season - a rookie NFL quarterback, example, or a new player on the Ryder Cup team. Using a rookie in a high-pressured situation carries a risk as you can never be certain how they will react.

There is also a suggestion that youth and/or inexperience makes a rookie more likely to make elementary mistakes. 

Where does the word come from?
The origin is uncertain but the OED suggests that it may be a corruption of the word recruit. It's first citation is from Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads (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.  

English Language Teaching Pack  only £1.99 


Popular posts from this blog

What is Globish?

Globish is a term invented by a French business man, Jean-Paul Nerriere, to describe the form English used as a lingua franca or common world language.

Top 10 words with the most entries in the Oxford English Dictionary?

Here are the words with the most separate entries in the OED: