Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Entirely new.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. brand new; fire-new

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Quite new; brand-new; fire-new.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Quite new; brand-new; fire-new.

Etymologies

Middle English spannewe, partial translation of Old Norse spānnȳr : spānn, shingle, chip + nȳr, new; see newo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Icelandic, properly meaning "as new as a ship just split". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Over the back of a chair was thrown the work she had been busied with; and on the bed, almost hid by the curtains, was a pair of the prettiest little blue garters I ever saw, even in Paris, -- span-new they were, and had evidently been bought no longer ago than the evening before, -- and some other articles of feminine apparel, which I will not attempt to describe.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 27, January, 1860

  • Up the side he scrambles, with the help of a side-ladder, all togged out to the nines in a span-new blue jacket and anchor buttons, a cap with a gould band, and white ducks made to fit -- as jemmy-jessamy a looking fellow as you'd see of a cruise along London parks, with the waterman singing out alongside to send down

    The International Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 1, August 1850 of Literature, Science and Art.

  • Being accompanied by the span-new silken affair with the golden head, which, as I have narrated _supra_, I was so lucky to obtain promiscuously after witnessing the Adelphi of the Westminster college boys, I naturally protested vehemently against such arbitrary and tyrannical regulations, urging the risk of my unprotected umbrella being feloniously abducted during unavoidable absence by some unprincipled and illegitimate claimant.

    Baboo Jabberjee, B.A.

  • "Well," said Mrs. Atwood, a little sharply, "it's quite proper that we should have something on our backs, and if we earn the money to put it there ourselves, I don't see why you should complain; as for ribbons, Sue has as good right to 'em as Roger to a span-new buggy that ain't good for anything but taking girls out in."

    Without a Home

  • I arrived safely at Mutton Cove, where two women, seeing my inquiring eye and span-new dress, asked what ship they should take "my honour" to, I told them the ship I wished to go on board of.

    Frank Mildmay Or, The Naval Officer

  • I arrived safely at Mutton Cove, where two women, seeing my inquiring eye and span-new dress, asked what ship they should take

    Frank Mildmay The Naval Officer

  • It wasn’t span-new—none of us could afford a new one—but it was clean and newly painted and varnished to a shine.

    Secret of the Night Ponies

  • a dressy mister, span-new from the city -- layin 'the law down: "All this stars and stripes," says he, "and red and white and blue is rubbish, mere sentimental rot, spread-eagleism!"

    The Atlantic Book of Modern Plays

  • And _Weber_, in his _Glossary_ (or rather, Mr. Douce, for the "D" appended to the note shows it to have proceeded from that accomplished antiquary), explains it, "_Spon-neowe_, span-new, newly spun.

    Notes and Queries, Number 78, April 26, 1851 A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc

  • Widin the last two or three days he has bought himself a new hat, a new pair o 'brogues, and a pair o' span-new breeches -- and, upon my conscience, it wasn't from me or mine he got the money to buy them. "

    The Evil Eye; Or, The Black Spector The Works of William Carleton, Volume One

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