• newfangled •
nyu-fæng-gêld • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: (Facetious) Novel, modern, the latest, up to date, in the latest fashion.
Notes: Today's Good Word and its antonym of oldfangled "old-fashioned" are playful words, as we can see in the variants newfandangled and newphangled. They all somehow have a tint of the oldfangled about them. We are free to use it with or without the suffix -d. Newfangle works just as well, though it is a bit older than even newfangled.
In Play: Use this word to express skepticism that something is a new item that will not survive serious thought: "Morris Bedda had to bring out his newfangled electric fork at the party this weekend." This Good Word can be used to disparage someone who is up to date on everything: "Morris is so high-falutin' he has to have every newfangled gadget that comes out."
Word History: No, this word never meant "newly fangled". It is, however, a rarity in English: a genuine English word rather than a borrowing. It started out in Middle English as neufanglyd "fond of novelty", a past participle of neufangel. This word is a compound made up of neu "new" + fangel "take, catch", a distant cousin of German fangen "to catch". This verb goes back to an obsolete word, fang "to catch (a fish)" used as recently as 1877. The original sense seems to be "newly caught" or "newly seized". (Today we thank Joyce B. Rhode for suggesting the oldfangled Good Word, newfangled.)
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