Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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.


and JCL
n. someone new to a situation or status. This Johnnie-come-lately doesn’t know what it was like in the old days.
References in classic literature ?
When in shops he asks the salesman how much money he makes in a day, and which drawer he keeps it in, and why his hair is red, and does he like Achilles, of whom David has lately heard, and is so enamoured that he wants to die to meet him.
Washington has certainly shown signs of mistrust lately," he remarked, "but if communications from them are ever tampered with, it is more likely to be on their side than ours.
Somehow or other, the world has gone amiss with me lately.
Probably he had his brother most in mind, for Henry Goldsmith had but lately died, "and I loved him better than most other men," said the poet sadly in the dedication of this poem--
Hence, when the warmth had fully returned, the same arctic species, which had lately lived in a body together on the lowlands of the Old and New Worlds, would be left isolated on distant mountain-summits (having been exterminated on all lesser heights) and in the arctic regions of both hemispheres.
Hence it has come, that when we compare the now living productions of the temperate regions of the New and Old Worlds, we find very few identical species (though Asa Gray has lately shown that more plants are identical than was formerly supposed), but we find in every great class many forms, which some naturalists rank as geographical races, and others as distinct species; and a host of closely allied or representative forms which are ranked by all naturalists as specifically distinct.
This relationship is shown wonderfully -- as wonderfully as between the fossil and extinct Marsupial animals of Australia -- by the great collection lately brought to Europe from the caves of Brazil by MM.
quadrupeds were lately co-extensive with the world: what those conditions were, no one has yet even conjectured.
If, I said, he makes a set speech and we make another recounting all the advantages of being just, and he answers and we rejoin, there must be a numbering and measuring of the goods which are claimed on either side, and in the end we shall want judges to decide; but if we proceed in our enquiry as we lately did, by making admissions to one another, we shall unite the offices of judge and advocate in our own persons.
But Eliza took advantage of the first convenient pause to ask if I had lately seen Mrs.
Not lately,' I replied, in a careless tone, but sternly repelling her odious glances with my eyes; for I was vexed to feel the colour mounting to my forehead, despite my strenuous efforts to appear unmoved.
With him was his brother-in-law, lately come from Canada, a big and rather boisterous young gentleman-farmer, with a yellow beard, by name James Blount.
She has lately," cried out old Fischer, "opened her father's house to a cut-throat Socialist, who says openly he would steal anything from a richer man.
In that part of the western division of this kingdom which is commonly called Somersetshire, there lately lived, and perhaps lives still, a gentleman whose name was Allworthy, and who might well be called the favourite of both nature and fortune; for both of these seem to have contended which should bless and enrich him most.
Why, yes, ma'am,' said Pancks, 'rather so lately; I have lately been round this way a good deal, owing to one thing and another.