The n00b text in Counter Strike.

What Does N00b Mean?

Get rekt n00b!

Written by:
Avatar photo
Rhett Roxl is a professional writer who has been gaming for as long as he can remember. He merged both passions together to become a writer in the game industry in 2020.

Reviewed by:
Avatar photo
Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

In the world of gaming, the term “noob” is used to insult a player for being terrible at the game being played, whether they’re an enemy or a teammate.

Of all the insults gamers can throw online, “n00b” has to be the most innocent. However, it’s an insult all the same. It’s an old and common term and every gamer should know what it means.

Table Of Contents

    The Origin of N00b

    The term “noob “has been a part of gamer culture for as long as anyone remembers. However, it actually predates the world of gaming.

    The true origin of the term is very unclear, and it seems it can be traced to multiple sources. The U.S. military used the term “newbie” during the Vietnam War to refer to new soldiers. This is most likely the source of the current derivation of the term.

    However, sources indicate its earliest possible use goes as far back as the mid-1800s. Kids in British public schools called the new kid in school “new boy,” which may be where the term “newbie” comes from.

    From new boy to newbie to noob. Wherever the term comes from, the video game community began adapting the term during the late 1980s or the early 1990s. The term isn’t exclusive to the video game world though. The term “noob” is used in other fields as well, such as tech, engineering, athletes, and more. Although its meaning remains widely the same.

    Today, the term is often stylized as “n00b.”

    The Meaning of N00b

    A “noob” refers to someone who’s a newcomer to something, and their skills clearly show it. However, it’s also used to insult someone who may have been in their field long enough but whose skills are clearly lacking. In the world of gaming, a player is called a “noob” as an insult for being terrible at the game whether you’re actually a newbie or not.

    The term was heavily used during the early days of FPS games such as Call of Duty or Counter Strike. Players made sure to let their enemies know how bad they were playing by simply calling them “noob.” Even teammates aren’t immune to this insult.

    It’s still very much used in online gaming today, although it’s not as common as it was. Go out there and play a match or two on an online game of your choice. A first-person shooter game, preferably. If someone is doing terribly in the game, you’re likely to see that person get called a “noob” by another player. Whether you want to jump on this train is up to you, just be sure to play well enough so you won’t be on the receiving end of the insult.