1101-391 Language and Identity.

Erik Yan

Dr. Carrie Hall



The word noob maybe familiar to some but not everyone has heard of it. Noob has many ways of being written. Some of these alternative words are n00b, newbie, nuub, and nub. The word is quite widely used in the gaming community. The word noob is defined as “a person who has recently started a particular activity” (Merriam-Webster).  On oxford dictionary, it is pretty similar but it is defined as “A person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the Internet.” (Oxford Dictionary). Both definitions are similar with the basic idea that the word noob means beginner or someone who is inexperienced. Noob is something specific to a certain group and that group is the gaming community, I believe that I’ve spent enough time playing games to give a brief idea on how the word came to be and how it is used today.

The word noob came from the word newbie. The word newbie derived from the word newie, which was first used around the 1830s. It was used in the United States and Australia for a word meaning something or someone new (Digital Trends). The word newbie was also used in the military. It was used by United States troops during the Vietnam war to refer to a new person joining the squad. The word newbie started appearing on the internet around the 1980s while the word noob started appearing in the 1990s. The game that was known for having used the word noob and popularizing it would be the game Counter Strike.

Gamers have been using the word noob as an insult in the gaming community. The word noob also have other meanings which aren’t in the dictionary, such as someone using a specific weapon or method that is easy to use and super effective which has led to gamers using the word noob as an insult. It is also used on another player when that said player is not doing too well in a game or doing poor, they might get called noob by some other players in or on the other team who may have had more experience in playing that game. Some gamers have kind of used another word with the same basic meaning of noob such as garbage or trash. Even with all the words gamers would use on each other, they all came from the word noob which kind of helped pioneer its way for those other words that gamers have used to insult one another.

The word noob should be changed from gamers using it as an insult to players, to players knowing and assisting beginner players in understanding the game. At one point in life, we have all been new and inexperienced to a certain activity. I don’t think someone should be criticized for not knowing what to do, I think we should help that said person in trying to improve instead of just talking shit to them and edging them away from the game they are trying to play. Noob mostly has a negative connotation and has been used to trash talk others. For example, I was playing Rainbow Six Siege with my friend Alex. We were playing a casual match and Alex and I had died in the first round. The last person left was a random player that we did not know and he was not doing things that, more experienced players would do, which made us start questioning his or her abilities to win the round. Suddenly, that random player died and we lost the round, Alex got super mad and started yelling “ WHAT THE FUCK BRO, THIS KID IS TRASH, WHAT LEVEL IS HE.”. Alex checks his level and he saw that he was level 20 and he yelled “YO THIS KIDS A NOOB BRO, LETS VOTE HIM OUT”.  I replied to Alex “He’s level 20, just let him be, he just trying to get used to the game.”. Everyone else voted to kick that player out but I voted no because I think the match we were playing is experience that would further help the beginning player improve and not become a noob. Gamers should be more accepting of new players because it is one way to help grow the gaming community and also grow the community for that certain game they are trying to get into. If gamers are able to change the way noob is interpreted and used, then we can change the negative connotation that the word noob has when brought up in the gaming community.

In the day to day life, the friends I talk to all have played video games and know the word noob and what its implications are. The word noob has kind of been used in my everyday diction by me jokingly calling my friends noobs for doing some stupid thing. We use the word noob towards each other to almost indirectly say that they are not experienced enough for whatever the situation that I used the word in. People should care about this because the gaming community is getting larger and larger. For example, “Indeed, gaming has become so integrated with modern popular culture that now even grandmas know what Angry Birds is, and more than 42 percent of Americans are gamers and four out of five U.S. households have a console.” (Chikhani). This shows how majority of people are becoming gamers and that would mean the word noob being more commonly used. Since it is being more commonly used, it should have a positive connotation to it instead of using it to call beginners garbage.

Therefore, the word noob is someone who is inexperienced at a certain activity and in the gaming industry, it was the starter word for all the trash talking words you hear online today when playing games. If the word can be used to understand that someone is inexperienced, then veteran players can assist those beginners in trying to improve.





















Work Cited


  • Chikhani, Riad. “The History Of Gaming: An Evolving Community.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 31 Oct. 2015, techcrunch.com/2015/10/31/the-history-of-gaming-an-evolving-community/.
  • Hill, Simon. “Don’t Be A Noob, Find Out What The Word Really Means.” Digital Trends, Digital Trends, 21 Mar. 2015, digitaltrends.com/gaming/noob-newbie-word-origins/.
  • “Newbie.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, merriam-webster.com/dictionary/newbie.
  • “Noob | Definition of Noob in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English, Oxford Dictionaries, en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/noob.