by Liz Walter
As we head into a new year (which I’m sure everyone hopes will be better than the old one!), I thought it would be nice to look at some useful phrases containing the word ‘new’.
If something is in its original condition or if we mend something so that it is perfect again, we often say that it’s as good as new. If something is being sold as new, it is not new, but it is still in perfect condition:
I painted the wardrobe and now it’s as good as new.
Four dining room chairs for sale, as new.
If someone has been feeling ill or tired but then feels well and energetic again, they might say that they feel like a new woman/man or that they have a new lease of life (UK)/ on life (US). We also say that an object is given a new lease of/on life when it is repaired or changed in a way that makes it better or makes it useful again:
Since I’ve stopped eating wheat, I feel like a new woman!
Joining the choir has given her a new lease of life.
She dyed the dress blue and gave it a new lease of life.
If we describe a person joining an organization as a new broom, we mean that they will make big changes, especially by changing old habits or getting rid of people with old ideas. This comes from the longer phrase a new broom sweeps clean. Such a person may well believe the saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, meaning that people who have been doing something in a particular way for a long time find it impossible to change:
He was a new broom, and some staff didn’t like it.
I’ll never be able to use this database. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Talking about someone moving to pastures new is a slightly jokey way of saying that they are going to a different job, place etc. When they get there, they might – also slightly jokily – be described as the new kid on the block:
After twenty years in the same job, it was definitely time to move to pastures new.
I can’t make decisions like that – I’m still the new kid on the block.
To finish, in a phrase particularly appropriate to New Year’s resolutions, if you turn over a new leaf, you start to behave in a better way:
After years of refusing to take life seriously, Matt really does seem to have turned over a new leaf.
And finally, may I wish all our readers a very Happy New Year!