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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.