tenderfoot n chiefly West

An inexperienced newcomer or visitor in a frontier or rural area; a naive or inexperienced person.

1866 Atlantic Mth. 18.246 swMT, Awkwardness in comprehending this dialect easily reveals that the hearer bears the disgrace of being a “pilgrim,” or a “tender-foot,” as they [=miners] style the new emigrant. 1886 Overland Mth. (2d ser) 8.613 swCA, “The poor thing don’t know no better,” Mrs. Grimes whispered. . . “Them tenderfeet is awful guys.” They could forgive much to a tenderfoot. 1896 Harper’s New Mth. Mag. 94.95 MA, What did cause him to pour forth the vials of his wrath . . was to find that he had harbored in his bosom . . a tenderfoot, a man who did not know enough to refrain from sneezing when ducks were in the pond. 1929 AmSp 5.57 NE [Cattle country talk], “Ranch hands” generally consider themselves “he-men” when compared with the effete “tenderfoot” or “green horn,” one unfamiliar with ranch life. c1938 in Lib. of Congress Amer. Memory: WPA Life Hist. (Internet) TX, I began as a tenderfoot of the purest type and ended up as a seasoned rawhide. 1940 AmSp 15.221 cwTX, When the ‘tenderfoot’ wife displays her inability to cope with ranch life, her neighbors assert that ‘she don’t know beef from bull’s foot.’ 1941 Writers’ Program Guide Wyoming 465, Tenderfoot—A newcomer. One not acquainted with cowboy habits and skills. c1960 Wilson Coll.csKY, Tenderfoot. . . A greenhorn, a new person at some game or problem. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. HH15, A very inexperienced person, one who is just learning how to do a new thing) 17 Infs, scattered, but esp West, NEast, Tenderfoot; (Qu. HH2, . . A citified person) Inf CA87, Tenderfoot. 1967 DARE Tape TX43, The prized pleasure that the cowboys or the city dudes had was to catch a tenderfoot. 2005 NewsRegister.com (McMinnville OR) 19 July (Internet), But we got even. When Portlanders came to Eastern Oregon, we often whispered to one another, “Aha, another tenderfoot.”