What is a "Rookie" and how did the name originate?
ESPN credits author Rudyard Kipling with the first usage. In his "Barrack-Room Ballads," published in 1892, Kipling writes "So 'ark an' 'eed you rookies/Which is grumblin' sore."
Ask Oxford believes "rookie" might be an alteration of the word "recruit." Eh, maybe so, but that's a pretty dull explanation. The Word Detective postulates a different and far more interesting theory. They believe "rookie" comes from "rook," a European and Asian bird famous for annoying farmers.
According to the Word Detective, in the 16th century the word "came into use as a disparaging epithet for a person of low repute" and later applied to the easily conned or fooled. See the connection? 1.) A rook is an annoying bird. 2.) Rook becomes slang for a disliked person. 3.) Rook comes to mean a gullible person. 4.) Those with experience call the newer workers "rooks" because they're believed to be easily fooled.
And there ya have it -- the rookie's roundabout story.
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