What are noobs? Who are noobs? Why are you a noob?

Erik Yan

Dr. Carrie Hall


What are noobs? Who are noobs? Why are you a noob?

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. 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.

Gamers have been using the word noob as an insult in the gaming community. The word also has 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 time, 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. I remember when I first began playing the game Rainbow Six Siege, I was terrible at it. I did not know the spots of where the objectives are, I did not know any game tactics, I was just…a noob. I would get killed by people on my team or I would get voted out of the game all because of my level. People who looked at my level and saw that it was low, assumed that I was not a good player, which they are probably right, but instead of just trying to help me improve in the game, I don’t get I had to be punished for not knowing much about the game. The only way I learned to become better at the game was by watching Youtube videos and just getting more interested in trying to get good at the game. Even watching videos to try to get good at the game, it still took me like 3 months before I was like genuinely decent at the game. I don’t think every new beginner needs to watch Youtube videos to get better at a game, but I feel like a community can grow more when gamers are helping new gamers get accustomed to how that game is. It also helps build some new friendships and bonds. Instead of using the word noob to talk down about another gamer for being a beginner, we should instead try to help them get out of that “noob” phase in that game so that they can one day do the same to another new gamer getting into that game. There has been a time when 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 thought that the match we were playing would be good 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.

I think gamers can call beginner players names is probably because they are behind a screen and a username. This kind of makes it like when we are playing games, we are almost also putting on a persona which is not our true selves. For example, “Even if kids are nice in “real life,” the anonymity that is provided on online gaming platforms emboldens them to be able to act disgustingly. These bullies don’t understand that oftentimes, the harassing messages sent through cyberspace can have the same kind of impact on them as hurtful comments given in real life.” (Aaron). This shows how people probably just forget that there are people behind those players they speak to in games. The gamers calling others noob probably forget that the player they are calling noobs are just humans who are trying to understand the game.

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. When I use the word noob with friends, it is never taken super seriously because I know them personally and talk to them in person, not online or through a screen. Since online, we don’t get to see who we are playing with, it kind of doesn’t seem like we are offending someone.

Therefore, the we should be easier on noobs whenever we encounter one in our games. Instead of kicking them out of team killing them, as I have once experienced, we should allow them them understand and explore the game while the veteran players should be like a mentor to the beginning players. We need to understand that everyone behind the screen is still a person and that every person was once a noob.
















Work Cited

  • Aaron, Jesse. “Cyber-Bullying and Video Games.” VentureBeat, VentureBeat, 27 Sept. 2014, venturebeat.com/community/2014/09/26/cyber-bullying-and-video-games/.
  • 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, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/newbie.
  • “Noob | Definition of Noob in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English, Oxford Dictionaries, en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/noob.








Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *