New Year's Day

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January 1, celebrated as a holiday in many countries.
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Origin of New Year's Day

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is New Year’s Day?

New Year’s Day refers to the day that the New Year begins—January 1.

The day before New Year’s Day is called New Year’s Eve (December 31).

The term New Year commonly refers to the first day or the first few days of a new year starting on January 1, but it’s 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. Still, the term New Year’s Day typically refers to  January 1.

The term New Year’s can refer to either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. But if someone asks you what you’re doing for New Year’s, they probably want to know what you’re doing on New Year’s Eve, which is traditionally a time for parties and counting down to the New Year. In contrast, New Year’s Day is often a day for relaxing after such celebrations, though people observe it in different ways—or not at all. It is often seen as a time of new beginnings. For some people, it’s when they start to act on their New Year’s resolution, which is a decision to do something or make some change starting in the New Year (especially to change or start some habit or behavior).

In the U.S., New Year’s Day is a federal holiday and 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, and Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve.

Example: I like to have a low-key New Year’s Day—I’m usually so tired from having stayed up so late the night before!

Where does New Year’s Day come from?

The first records of the term New Year’s Day come from the 1100s—around the time that the term New Year is first recorded. In New Year’s Eve, the word eve refers to the day or night before a holiday, as in the night before New Year’s Day (Christmas Day is distinguished from Christmas Eve in the same way).

When the clock changes from 11:59 p.m. on December 31 to midnight on January 1, New Year’s Eve becomes New Year’s Day and a new year begins—the New Year. Often, when people ask you what you’re doing for New Year’s, they want to know what you’ll be doing at this exact time.

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What are some synonyms for New Year’s Day?

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How is New Year’s Day used in real life?

New Year’s Day is commonly seen as a time of new beginnings when many people begin their New Year’s resolutions.


Try using New Year’s Day!

Is New Year’s Day used correctly in the following sentence? 

My family has a few New Year’s Day traditions that we observe every year, including making some special dishes.

How to use New Year's Day in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for New Year's Day

New Year's Day

Jan 1, celebrated as a holiday in many countriesOften (US and Canadian informal) shortened to: New Year's
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