New Year's Eve

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the night of December 31, often celebrated with merrymaking to usher in the new year at midnight.
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Origin of New Year's Eve

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve is December 31, the day before New Year’s Day (January 1).

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 are both based on lunar calendars. Still, the term New Year’s Eve typically refers to December 31.

The term New Year’s can refer to either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. 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.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time for parties and counting down to the New Year, though people celebrate in many different ways.

In the U.S., New Year’s Eve 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.

Example: I like to have a low-key New Year’s Eve—I just stay in and cook a nice meal and usually fall asleep before midnight.

Where does New Year’s Eve come from?

The first records of the term New Year’s Eve come from the 1300s. 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 (the term is used in the same way in Christmas Eve to distinguish it from Christmas Day).

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 Eve, they want to know what you’ll be doing at this exact time.

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

New Year’s Eve is commonly known as a night of celebration to ring in the New Year, but people observe it many different ways—and sometimes not at all.



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British Dictionary definitions for New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve

the evening of Dec 31, often celebrated with partiesSee also Hogmanay
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