Intermediate+ Word of the Day: fresh

fresh (adjective, adverb) /frɛʃ/ LISTEN

You might already know that if something is fresh, it is newly made, not previously known, or recently arrived. It can also mean ‘additional or further.’ If we are talking about water, it means ‘not salty,’ and if we are talking about food, ‘recently harvested’ or ‘not spoiled or stale.’ We also use fresh to describe something that is pure or refreshing, vigorous, or not faded or worn. Informally, but now rather dated, fresh means ‘rude or impolite.’

Example sentences

  • Tania took a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven.
  • In light of the fresh information, the government changed its mind.
  • There are some fresh faces at our company.
  • We need fresh supplies.
  • These fish are only found in fresh water.
  • The baskets were brimming with fresh apples.
  • Fresh paint on the walls transformed the room.
  • Don't be so fresh, young man! Didn't your parents teach you any manners?

In pop culture

Listen to Kool & the Gang singing their 1984 hit song “Fresh” here:

Did you know?

A fresh start is when you start something all over again, forgetting about anything that has gone before. You can talk about making a fresh start on something in particular, but more generally, you talk about making a fresh start when you are making quite fundamental changes to your life. For example, you might say, “There were too many bad memories in his home town, so Tyler decided to move away and make a fresh start in a new city.” Of course, making a fresh start is something people frequently decide to do, in some way, at New Year. People often make resolutions about things that they want to do or to stop doing. So, you might say, “My diet has been terrible this year, but I’m going to make a fresh start in the New Year and only eat healthy food.”

Other forms

freshness (noun), freshly (adverb), afresh (adverb)


Fresh dates back to before the year 900. The Old English adjective fersc maintained its spelling in early Middle English, but by the early 13th century, it was often found as fersh or fresh, and eventually the second form became the norm. It can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic friscaz and the Proto-Indo-European root preysk– (fresh). Fresh is related to the Old Frisian fersk, the Middle Dutch versch, the Dutch vers, the Old High German frisc and the German frisch (al meaning ‘fresh’), as well as the Old Church Slavonic presinu (fresh) and the Lithuanian preskas (sweet), and the French frais and Spanish and Italian fresco (meaning ‘fresh or cool’). In Old English, fersc was used about water, meaning ‘not salt, or unsalted’ (fresh water still means that today). The sense ‘new or recent’ emerged around the year 1300, while ‘not stale or worn,’ ‘pure’ and ‘eager’ are all from the early 14th century. Most linguists agree that the metathesis (in other words, the movement of the ‘r’ sound within the word) and these expanded senses are due to the influence of the Middle French fres (fresh or cool), which can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic frisko-, from friscaz. Fresh, meaning ‘rude or impolite,’ is actually unrelated. It first appeared in the mid-19th century in US slang, and probably came from the German frech (insolent or rude), from the Old High German freh (covetous or greedy). It is related to the Old English adjective frec (greedy or bold), which has given us the current English word freak.

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