I am a new hand. Literally it is "Ich bin eine neue Hand" in German.
I am a green hand. Correspond to "Ich bin eine grüne Hand".
I don't know if the translations above are correct or not. What is the native way to express the meaning of "I am a newbie." in German?

4 Answers 4


There's a number of expressions for this, and it totally depends on the context which one is the best to use.

Note that "hand" means "person", as in "All hands on deck!", and you can't translate it as "Hand" into German, which doesn't have this meaning. Again, it depends on context, but the above expression would be "Alle Mann an Deck!", for example.

You can find expressions for "green Hand" by looking up the corresponding meaning "Neuling" in a Thesaurus, e.g. here, or even in the Duden.

Grünschnabel retains the "green", if this is important for the translation. But depending on the context, other expressions can be a lot better.


For newbie / freshman you can easily find translations like

  • Anfänger
  • Neuling

in the dictionaries, but for your descriptive expression »to be a green hand« I propose the idiom

ein unbeschriebenes Blatt sein

which means to be inexperienced (ein unerfahrener Mensch sein).

So the result would be:

Ich bin [auf diesem Gebiet] ein unbeschriebenes Blatt.

Note that this is rather upper style.


The proper English idiom for your question is "greenhorn." And the German equivalent is "Grünschnabel."

"Ich bin ein Grünschnabel"

preserves the English idiom in German.

If the English idiom you want is "newbie," then "Neuling" is probably the closest German equivalent.


You could also say:

He is still wet behind the ears - Er ist noch feucht hinter den Ohren.

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