1. A recent convert to a belief; a proselyte.
2. A beginner or novice: a neophyte at politics.
a. Roman Catholic Church A newly ordained priest.
b. A novice of a religious order or congregation.
[Middle English, from Late Latin neophytus, from Greek neophutos, newly planted, a recent convert : neo-, neo- + -phutos, planted (from phuein, to bring forth, make grow; see bheuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.