Posted by: Jack Henry | April 16, 2019

Editor’s Corner: New

Dear Editrix,

What’s the difference, if any, between new and brand-new?

Sincerely, a Blessing from Monett

Dear Mr. Blessing,

What an interesting question and I am happy to tell you that I found some interesting answers! First, apparently there are people out there who would ask, “What’s the difference between bran new and brand-new?” To those people I say, “It is brand-new with a ‘d’ at the end. If your bran is new, well, maybe you are trying a different type of cereal.”

And as for new versus brand-new, here’s the general explanation from Merriam-Webster:

  • new: having originated or occurred lately: not early or long in being: recent, fresh, modern—opposed to old
  • brand-new: fresh from the manufacturer: conspicuously new and unused: recently introduced

And being a smart aleck, I had to look up brand spanking new, and the age of this expression was a surprise to me. From The Grammarist:

The phrase brand spanking new means to be entirely new or recently created, and was first recorded in 1860. It evolved from the compound word brand-new and the phrase spick-and-span. Also, spanking, while the main definition is to hit someone on the butt, can also mean to move quickly. So, one might say that a brand spanking new object was created quickly or appeared very fast. In truth, no one knows quite how it was coined or what it originally referred to.

Lastly, I found these little tidbits for differentiating the new and the brand-new:

  • If there can be anything newer than new, it is brand-new.
  • If you buy a brand-new TV, it remains so as it is delivered to you in packed condition, but once you have opened and installed in your home or office, it is just a new TV and not a brand new one.
  • An unsold car in a showroom is brand-new, but it becomes just new once you have bought and used it for a few days.
  • Brand-new indicates a product that is in original packing and unused condition.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: