quality or state of not having been seen before or of being new

Novelty is the quality of being new, or following from that, of being striking, original or unusual. Although it may be said to have an objective dimension (e.g. a new style of art coming into being, such as abstract art or impressionism) it essentially exists in the subjective perceptions of individuals.


  • Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
    • Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), p. 95.
  • Everything's a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That's the way it's supposed to be. That's the way it is.
  • Spick and span new.
    • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605-15), Part II, Chapter LVIII. Thomas Middleton—The Family of Love, Act IV, scene 3.
  • The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
  • There are two kinds of fools: one says, "This is old, therefore it is good"; the other says, "This is new, therefore it is better."
    • Dean Inge, More Lay Thoughts of a Dean (1931), p. 200.
  • Would I had phrases that are not known, utterances that are strange, in new language that has not been used, free from repetition, not an utterance that has grown stale, which men of old have spoken.
  • Afrique est coustumiere toujours choses produire nouvelles et monstrueuses.
    • It is the custom of Africa always to produce new and monstrous things.
    • François Rabelais, Pantagruel (1532), Book V, Chapter III.
  • The sort of thing that pleased the public mind was caricatures of eminent politicians after a course of Boom-feeding, uses of the idea on hoardings, and such edifying exhibitions as the dead wasps that had escaped the fire and the remaining hens. Beyond that the public did not care to look, until very strenuous efforts were made to turn its eyes to the remoter consequences, and even then for a while its enthusiasm for action was partial. "There's always somethin' New," said the public--a public so glutted with novelty that it would hear of the earth being split as one splits an apple without surprise, and, "I wonder what they'll do next."
    • H. G. Wells, The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth (1904), Book I, Chapter the Fourth

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 561-62.
  • There is nothing new except what is forgotten.
    • Mademoiselle Bertin (Milliner to Marie Antoinette).
  • Wie machen wir's, dass alles frisch und neu
    Und mit Bedeutung auch gefällig sei?
  • Dulcique animos novitate tenebo.
    • And I will capture your minds with sweet novelty.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book IV. 284.
  • Est natura hominum novitatis avida.
    • Human nature is fond of novelty.
    • Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, XII, 5, 3.
  • Ex Africa semper aliquid novi.
    • Always something new out of Africa.
    • Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, 8, 6.
  • Sehen Sie, die beste Neuigkeit verliert, sobald sie Stadtmärchen wird.
    • Observe, the best of novelties palls when it becomes town talk.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Fiesco, III, 10.
  • What is valuable is not new, and what is new is not valuable.
    • Daniel Webster, at Marshfield (Sept. 1, 1848). Criticism of the platform of the Free Soil party. Phrase used in Edinburgh Review by Lord Brougham in an article on the work of Dr. Thomas Young.
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