The origin of…Rookie

“My rookie year, I was very immature.” Dennis Rodman

        Post 1 Rookie

What better word for my first blog post than the word rookie. The term is mostly used in sports in the US, where it refers to a person in his or first year. But it can also mean a person who is new to an activity, training or profession, or to a freshman, especially in athletic teams.

It is not clear what the origins of the word are, but according to the Oxford English Dictionary perhaps it is a corruption of the word recruit. The earliest example of the use of the term can be found in Rudyard Kipling’s Barrack-Room Ballads (published 1892):

“So ‘ark an’ ‘eed, you rookies, which is always grumblin’ sore”, referring to rookies as raw recruits to the British Army. Its origin is perhaps influenced by the word rook in its secondary sense, suggesting “easy to cheat.”

Another possible origin is from the Dutch broekie, literally meaning little pants, but referring to someone who is inexperienced or a young boy.

1. An inexperienced recruit, especially in the police or armed forces.
2. A novice.
3. An athlete either new to the sport or to a team or in his first year of professional competition, especially said of baseball, basketball, hockey and American football players
4. (UK) A type of firecracker, used by farmers to scare rooks. (source: Wiktionary)

Rookie in other languages:
Dutch: groentje, nieuweling, rekruut (in police and military)
Spanish: novato (in sports), bisoño (in police and military), principiante
Italian: esordiente (in sports), recluta (in police and military), principiante


Categories: Sports

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