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A newcomer or late arrival to a group or activity. The rest of the staff wasn't too fond of Greg, a Johnny-come-lately who received praise from the manager after just one week on the job. Hurry up, Johnny-come-lately, we've already started today's drills!
A newcomer, as in She may be a Johnny-come-lately on the board, but she's doing a fine job with publicity. [1830s]
You call someone a Johnny-come-lately if they get involved in an activity or organization when it has been happening or has existed for a long time and therefore have little knowledge or experience of it. Having arrived on the scene relatively recently, Sylva is regarded by many other managers as a Johnny-come-lately. Note: Johnny-come-lately can also be used before a noun. We advise members to ensure that they are dealing with a reliable and long-established company — not some Johnny-come-lately firm that's just set up round the corner. Note: This name used to be given to new or inexperienced sailors in the American navy.
A late arrival; a newcomer. This term originated in the early nineteenth-century British navy as Johnny Newcomer, meaning a seaman new to a ship. In the United States it was changed to Johnny-come-lately, first appearing in print in Charles F. Briggs’s novel, The Adventures of Harry Franco (1839).