Origin of Wet Behind the Ears

This expression comes from the at an early stage 1900s. The idea behind the is that the last ar to dry on a newborn calf or colt is the indentation behind the ears.

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If a calf is still wet behind the ears, it has just freshly been born. In other words, when using this to humans, someone that is wet behind the ear is young, inexperienced, and immature.

An early use that this expression was in J. F. Straker’s 1962 novel A Coil that Rope:

You’re quiet wet behind the ears, darling. It’s time you prospered up.

Examples the Wet Behind the Ears

In this example, two sisters space talking around the younger sister’s new job.

Amy: ns really want everyone to respect me in ~ my new job.

Kimberly: they will, eventually.

Amy: Right now they won’t let me carry out anything on mine own. They room constantly supervising every tiny thing i do.

Kimberly: Well, you simply graduated, and this is your first job ever. They think you’re quiet wet behind the ears, and they’re right. The best an abilities come native experience, not school. The doesn’t issue if you were the best in her class. Girlfriend still have to prove friend actually have actually the practical ability as well. Once you show them you know what you space doing, they will accept you.

Amy: ns hope you’re right.

In the second example, 2 friends room on a camping trip.

Keira: What are you doing! protect against immediately!

Rory: what’s wrong? ns was just about to eat these mushrooms ns found.

Keira: You can’t eat those. Those are toxic!

Rory: are you sure?

Keira: Yes! the mushroom is so deadly the the name is in reality destroying angel.

Rory: Oh, the does sound bad.

Keira: What were you thinking?

Rory: i was reasoning that we had actually been camping because that a few days, and also that ns was pretty good at making it through out in the woods. I guess ns was overconfident.

Keira: Yeah. A few days is not lengthy at all. You’re quiet wet behind the ears. You have actually a lot come learn about outdoor skills, and mushroom identification deserve to take years!

More Examples

This excerpt is around the homeless populace in new York and also the inexperienced and inadequate support they get.

So the was the a day-to-day News reporter watched 2 wet-behind-the-ears city “outreach” workers leave top top the sidewalk — top top a night the the temperature dropped well below freezing — a bundled-up panhandling woman who claimed to be pregnant. –New York daily News

This excerpt is about an Olympic athlete who has no experience being top top TV.

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Turns the end that even on land, Ryan Lochte is quiet a tiny wet behind the ears once it pertains to the TV game. –New York everyday News


The phrase wet behind the ear means that a human is a novice at something.