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new year

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noun

the year approaching or newly begun.
(initial capital letters) the first day or few days of a year in any of various calendars.

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Origin of new year

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does New Year mean?

When capitalized, the term New Year commonly refers to the first day or the first few days of a new year starting on January 1.

This is the sense of the term that’s used in the phrase Happy New Year and in the terms New Year’s Eve (December 31) and New Year’s Day (January 1), which is a holiday to celebrate the New Year. The term New Year’s can refer to either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. It can also refer to the period of time spanning the end of the year and the beginning of the new one. New Year can also be used in this way, as in We’ll be away for the New Year, but we’ll be back on January 4.  

Of course, people who are wishing you a Happy New Year are probably wishing that your entire year is happy, too—not just its first day or first few days. In general, a new year is the year that has just begun or will begin soon.

The term New Year is also used in the context of the beginnings of years that are based on other calendars, such as a Lunar New Year. For example, the Chinese New Year and the Jewish New Year (known as Rosh Hashanah) are both based on lunar calendars. The New Year holiday known as Nowruz (sometimes called the Persian New Year) occurs on the vernal equinox.

In the U.S., the New Year is part of what’s known as the holiday season (sometimes called the holidays)—the period that starts on Thanksgiving and continues until New Year’s Day and includes the holidays of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve.

Many people view the New Year as a time for new beginnings and resolutions.

Example: Let’s see how I keep up with my fitness goals after the New Year.

Where does New Year come from?

The first records of the term New Year come from the 1100s. The term New Year’s Day is first recorded in the 1100s and New Year’s Eve is first recorded in the 1300s.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time for parties and counting down to the New Year. Some people seek to observe the passage into a new year quietly, but others do it with a bang—often literally. New Year celebrations often feature fireworks, noisemakers, or banging on pots and pans. The verb phrase ring in in ring in the New Year refers to the fact that the arrival of the New Year is often greeted with the ringing of bells, such as church bells.

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What are some other forms related to New Year?

  • new year (uncapitalized)

What are some synonyms for New Year?

What are some words that share a root or word element with New Year

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing New Year?

 

How is New Year used in real life?

When people use the term New Year, they’re commonly referring to the first few days of the year starting on January 1, which is often seen as a time of new beginnings. But there are other New Year celebrations based on other calendars.

 

Try using New Year!

Is New Year used correctly in the following sentence?

If you don’t have any plans for the New Year, you should come to my party.

British Dictionary definitions for new year

New Year

noun

the first day or days of the year in various calendars, usually celebrated as a holiday
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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