Newbie, newb, noob, noobie, n00b 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[1] or Linux use.[2][3]

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 newbie, while the related term noob (often stylized as "n00b") is often used in online gaming.


The 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.[4]

In the 1960s and 1970s, the term "newbie" had a limited usage among U.S. troops in the Vietnam War as a slang term for a new man in a unit.[5]

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.[citation needed]

Its earliest known usage on an internet[note 1] may have been on the Usenet newsgroup talk.bizarre.[6] The term is believed to have entered online usage by 1981.[7]

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 newbies are the rookies among the Blue Angels.").[4]

In 2000, Electronic Arts released The Sims. The game featured a tutorial house with a family called The Newbies.[8]

In 2009, "noob" was among candidates for the one-millionth English word selection by the Global Language Monitor.[9][10]

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,[11] while a "noob" refers disparagingly to an inexperienced or under-talented hacker or gamer who lacks the determination to learn.[11]

The origin of "nub" means "non-usable body" in the context of military submarines. It referred to crew that were too new to contribute, while wasting precious oxygen.

Similar terms in other languages

See also


  1. ^ 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.


  1. ^ "". Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  2. ^ "". Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  3. ^ "Ubuntu Forums". Ubuntu Forums. Archived from the original on May 3, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "newbie Archived March 27, 2020, at the Wayback Machine" The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989, OED Online, Oxford University Press, (subscription needed) March 8, 2010.
  5. ^ Entry for newbie in John Robert Elting, Ernest L. Deal, and Dan Cragg, A Dictionary of Soldier Talk, New York: Scribner, 1984, p. 209. ISBN 0-684-17862-1
  6. ^ "Newbie". Jargon File. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  7. ^ Dyker, Barbara (June 1, 1988). "Re: some (should-be) ground-rules for submissions to comp.binaries.*". Newsgroupcomp.sys.mac. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  8. ^ Ericka Blye (January 21, 2020). "The Sims: The Longest Existing Families". The Gamer. Webtoon. Archived from the original on February 27, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  9. ^ Moore, Matthew (May 6, 2009). "One millionth English word could be 'defriend' or 'noob'". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  10. ^ "The Global Language Monitor: Millionth Word Finalists Announced". Global Language Monitor. May 29, 2009. Archived from the original on August 24, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2009. N00b – From the Gamer Community; a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term.
  11. ^ a b Broek, Anna Vander (April 23, 2009). "Gamer Speak for Newbs". Forbes. Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  12. ^ 都市汉子 (July 4, 2005). "试论网络语言的基本特点上" [On the Basic Characteristics of Internet Slangs] (in Simplified Chinese). Archived from the original on December 1, 2005. Retrieved October 31, 2018.