Newbie, newb, noob, or nub is a slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in a profession or activity. Contemporary use can particularly refer to a beginner or new user of computers, often concerning Internet activity, such as online gaming or Linux use. Depending on the context and spelling variant used, the term can have derogatory connotations (and be used as a term of abuse in Internet-based games)—but is also often used for descriptive purposes only, without any value judgment.
The origin of this term is uncertain. Earliest uses probably date to late twentieth century United States Armed Forces jargon, though possible precursor terms are much earlier. Variant forms of the noun include newby and newbee, while the related term noob (often stylized as "n00b") is often used in online gaming.
Etymology of the term is uncertain. It may derive from "newie", which is attested in U.S. and Australian sources of the 1850s, meaning a neophyte in a place or situation; alternatively, it may derive from the British public school slang "new boy" or "new blood", which is attributed to the same era and was applied to a schoolboy in his first term.
Another use of the term newbee was the moniker given to new U.S. Navy recruit students attending Basic Electricity and Electronics school by more senior students, a requisite course prior to enrollment in the A-school course at Naval Air Technical Training Center, Millington, Tennessee.
Coming from an oral tradition, the term has various spellings. Among alternative forms are "newby", "nubie", and "newbee" (e.g. Los Angeles Times of August 1985: "It had to do with newbees. I could be wrong on the spelling, but newbees are the rookies among the Blue Angels.").
Connotations of variants
Different spellings can have quite different connotations; so in some contexts a "newb" refers to a beginner who is willing to learn, while a "noob" refers disparagingly to an inexperienced or under-talented hacker or gamer who lacks the determination to learn.
Similar terms in other languages
- In Korean, the equivalent term is chobo or hasu, the opposite of gosu, meaning "highly skilled".
- In Chinese, cainiao (simplified Chinese: 菜鸟; traditional Chinese: 菜鳥; pinyin: càiniǎo; lit. 'vegetable bird'). It either originated from Hong Kong or from the Taiwanese army. It became an Internet slang term used in the Chinese-speaking community.
- FNG, another term for someone new to a unit used in the Vietnam War
- Luser, a pejorative term for inexperienced computer users
- As Usenet predated the Internet (the globally interconnected networks most commonly used as of 2020), 'an internet' here refers to Usenet, which is an interconnected network in itself.
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N00b – From the Gamer Community; a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term.
- Broek, Anna Vander (April 23, 2009). "Gamer Speak for Newbs". Forbes. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
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