New Years Vocabulary

As we begin 2017, we’re going to cover some English words and phrases commonly-associated with the arrival of a new year.


If you need more help with vocabulary for celebrating the New Year, or any other aspect of the English language, contact the English Island in Atlanta. Our caring, passionate ESL teachers can create a lesson plan that is tailored to your individual needs.


New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve, December 31st, is the day before a new year begins. For many Americans, New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration. People gather with friends, either privately in their homes or publicly in large festivals, to “ring in” the New Year at midnight. The most notable of these celebrations is the New York City ball drop, where a large ball is lowered in Times Square. Atlanta has a similar tradition where a large, regionally-appropriate fake peach is “dropped” at midnight.


New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is January 1st. While New Year’s Eve is associated with partying, New Year’s Day is usually treated as a time for rest (and in some cases recovery) from the previous night’s festivities. With the exception of the retail and service industries, most American businesses are closed on New Year’s Day.



A celebration is another word for a “party.” It is a festive gathering of friends, acquaintances, and in some cases, complete strangers.


Count Down

In the United States and much of the rest of the English-speaking world, it is customary to “count down” from ten to zero as the New Year approaches. When the clock reaches midnight, people shout “Happy New Year!” and often raise their glasses in a toast.


Happy New Year!

The words traditionally shouted at midnight on New Year’s Eve, when the old year ends and a new year begins.



A toast is the raising of a glass in commemoration of a particular person or event. In the United States, it is customary to “toast” the New Year with a glass of Champagne.



Champagne is the traditional drink of New Year’s Eve celebrations in much of the English-speaking world. This alcoholic beverage is a sparkling (carbonated) wine produced from grapes from the Champagne region of France.



The launching of fireworks, explosives that soar high into the air and produce fantastic displays of colored lights, is commonly associated with New Year’s in the United States. Another notable day for the launching of fireworks is Independence Day, colloquially called the Fourth of July, when the United States celebrates its independence from England.


New Year’s Resolution

A New Year’s Resolution is a promise or goal that a person sets for him or herself to achieve in the New Year. Common resolutions include losing weight, exercising, saving money, and spending more time with friends and family.