The word "new" is the opposite of "old," but we often use words other than "new" when describing something that is not old. Instead, you might choose to use words like "young," "fresh," "modern," or "contemporary."

  • The Henderson’s have a new baby.
  • The baby is very young. She’s only ten days old.
  • The grocery store received a new shipment of lettuce.
  • The lettuce is fresh. (rather than "new")
  • We bought some new furniture.
  • The colors are very modern.
  • Do you like contemporary furniture?

We often use the word "new" to describe a person who is in a new situation:

  • Zooey has a new boyfriend.
  • Her boyfriend is new to the area.
  • He just found a new job.
  • Everything is new to him. He has a lot to learn.

The word "new" is commonly used in every day speech:

  • What’s new?
  • What’s new with you?
  • Have you heard anything new?
  • He’s the new guy. He’s new.

English speakers in the United States sometimes like to borrow words from other languages that substitute for the word "new": "Nouveau" is French, "neo" is Greek, and "nuevo" is Spanish:

  • They’re members of the nouveau riche. (They’re newly rich.)
  • Many people who worked under George Bush were referred to as "neo conservative." (new conservatives)
  • Feliz Ano Nuevo! (Happy New Year!)

Note: The word "newbie" is slang for someone who is new. It’s often used to describe someone who is new to various internet-related activities, but it can be used for just about any activity, as long as you used it to describe a person–not a thing.

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January 1, 2013