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The origin of rookie

Posted at 1:58 PM on June 27, 2006 by Ben Tesch (2 Comments)

How did the name "rookie" originate for first-year players?
Although the term "rookie" is used mostly to describe first-year athletes, it can refer to anyone new on the job. There are rookie cops, rookie rodeo clowns, even rookie presidents. You name the occupation, and odds are it's got rookies in way over their heads.

Comments (2)

The Oxford English Dictionary states that the origins are uncertain, but that perhaps it is a corruption of the word recruit. The earliest example from the OED is from Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads (published 1892): So 'ark an' 'eed, you rookies, which is always grumblin' sore, referring to rookies in the sense of raw recruits to the British Army.

Posted by Russell | June 28, 2006 12:29 AM

here's a guess: perhaps from the chess piece "rook" - if you think about it a rook behaves much like a new person on the job does.

Posted by sim | November 28, 2007 11:40 AM

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