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Brand new[edit]

PaulG - I would think "brand new" is directly related to "brand". I believe both derive from the practice of branding (i.e., burning, the original sense), as

  • Brand originally means "to burn".
  • Burning in a design is used to mark ownership, cattle branding surviving to this day.
  • Brand extends to denote any mark of ownership or origin (e.g., an engraved name of a manufacturer).
  • Brand new refers to an item that still clearly shows its brand mark.

The first three are well-known, and I can't see how the fourth can be unrelated. -dmh 14:36, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I agree. [1] has "Brand-new is c.1570 and must have meant "fresh from the fire" (Shakespeare has fire-new)." — folk etymologies tend to have pretty common debunkings, and I can't find any offhand. But if there's evidence to the contrary, I'd like to see it (I love a good folk etymology) :) —Muke Tever 14:23, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I recalled, perhaps incorrectly, that "brand new" was a variant (now the standard) form of an older form "bran new". I have no evidence to present, but would be interested to see what the OED has to say. — Paul G 15:30, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I couldn't find anything authorative for "brand new" on line, but the link Muke cites looks better than what I gave -- though I might not be the first one to re-analyze "brand new" the way I did. FWIW, Dutch has "splinternieuw", which strikes me as very evocative, though I'm not sure of what. In any case, it seems very unlikely that "brand new" is unrelated to the usual senses of "brand".
Then there's always the google test. "Brand new" gets over 5,000,000 hits, "bran new" gets about 11,000. Given that the 'd' in "brand new" is liable to dissapear in speech, it seems very likely that "bran new" is just a more nearly phonetic spelling.
Finally, I don't see an obviously plausible etymology for "bran new" ("so new a grain that the bran is still on it" seems like a stretch), while "brand new" has (at least) one. "Fire new" in Shakespeare, while circumstantial, looks convincing to me. -dmh 16:04, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
My guess is that "bran new" may be a contamination of brand new with span new (meaning basically the same thing). [2] implies that this expression has been prone to contamination before (its example shows: spank-span-new + brand-span-new = brand-spanking-new). Possibly supporting this is that "brand-span-new" itself only appears to exist on that page and pages quoting it, and the usual spelling is "bran-span-new". —Muke Tever 17:28, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
E.M. Delafield has "bran-new" in 'Diary of a Provincial Lady' and related novels (early 1930s). I think the earlier comment re 'bran' and 'brand' being related to 'burn', and therefore to branding by hot iron to denote ownership etc. is most likely the true provenance, making both "brand new" and "bran new" correct. -MaryonJeane 13:55, 12 Feb 2008

Poetic sense[edit]

So, what about "brand" being a poetic term meaning "sword" or "blade"? -- 07:13, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you know of an example work that uses the word that way? Rod (A. Smith) 05:06, 20 July 2006 (UTC)


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Rfv-sense: (advertising) A product's attributes — name, appearance, reputation, and so on — taken collectively and abstractly.

I have added a sense built around "reputation", which may have been what was intended because the example would, IMO, better fit a sense like "reputation". Perhaps this is indeed a widely accepted sense in the world of advertising. DCDuring TALK 00:01, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

a) I think "identifying reputation" would add meaning.
b) would "a population" sound better than "some population" or is this just because I'm British :) —Saltmarshtalk-συζήτηση 06:43, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
"Some" seems better. Thanks. Note that I have removed the advertising context for some senses, because the terms seems to be in widening use in business and politics and among employees in reference to themselves. I am not sure about the true extent of this widening. I think that "identifying" places more emphasis on the referring quality of a brand in this usage. Just as name means both one's identifying moniker and one's reputation, so too has brand come to have the same distinct senses. There are some differences in syntax: one has a "reputation for X"; one's "name means X". DCDuring TALK 10:51, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
RFV-failed / deleted as redundant. - -sche (discuss) 02:57, 10 March 2012 (UTC)