1. Someone who is just or recently beginning to learn or practice some discipline


We are all tyros from time to time. You can't get far in life without learning how to do new things, be they tying your shoes, opening a bank account, or negotiating a business merger. And whenever you're in the process of learning how to do something which you didn't know how to do before, you are a tyro. If you notice a young child proudly stamping about in tennis shoes with a couple tangled knots in the laces, you might smile and remind his older brother, "Well, he's got a few kinks to work out, but after all he's only a tyro when it comes to shoe tying." In the same way, if you yourself were stalled at a four way stop, you might sheepishly explain to your passengers, "Sorry, guys! I'm still a bit of a tyro at driving a stick shift." This would mean that you are inexperienced at driving stick and are still learning how to do it well, just as the young child was inexperienced at tying his shoes. And whether it's tying shoes or driving a car, learning something new takes gumption, so let's all have plenty of respect for the tyros in our lives.

Example: The painstaking attention which the server paid to balancing the drinks revealed that she was still a tyro at her trade.

Example: The novice skier thought that he was ready for the steeper slope but, a couple of tumbles later, he was forced to admit that he was still a tyro in need of more practice.


Tyro entered English in the 17th century with its present meaning. It derives from the Medieval Latin tyro which is derived from the older Latin tiro, both of which mean "a young soldier" or "a recruit."

Derivative Words

Tyrociny: This noun refers to the state or condition of being a tyro (i.e. an apprenticeship or tutelage).

Example: The ambitious young man grew weary of his tyrociny and wished to start working as a carpenter on his own.

In Literature

From H.P. Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Wall":

They represented my ancestors as a race of hereditary daemons besides whom Gilles de Retz and the Marquis de Sade would seem the veriest tyros.

Here, Lovecraft uses tyro to describe how the people believe that infamously evil men such as de Sade and de Retz were mere beginners in the practice of evil in comparison to the protagonist's ancestors.


  • If someone is a tyro,
    they can't say "I know!"
    till they let their knowledge grow.


Tyro is also the name of a notable woman in Greek mythology. Tyro was the daughter of Salmaneus, King of Elis, and she bore children to her husband Cretheus as well as to Sisyphus and to the god Poseidon, who disguised himself as her beloved Enipeus.


Student, Learning, Education

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of tyro. Did you use tyro in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.