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When people say "They had to move the interview to the new year.", does that mean the interview will take place in January next year (or even January 1st), or just anytime next year?

2 Answers 2

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Used in this kind of context, "new year" idiomatically means a short time into the next calendar year. It isn't a specific date and it doesn't have to be January, but it tends to only be used this way for short postponements that move something from late in one year to early in the next. For example, if something was scheduled for December 2021 and it was moved to February 2022, it might be said that it has been "postponed until the new year".

Saying that something is now taking place "next year" could sound like it has been postponed a whole 12 months, so this is a way of countering that. It also seems to be a way of accounting for the end-of-year holidays which may add to the postponement of something. So whereas you might normally put something off until "next week" or "next month", the holidays at the end of December may push something postponed into the following calendar year.

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    in some contexts, it might refer to the financial or tax year, or the academic year rather than the calendar year
    – Tristan
    Sep 22, 2021 at 7:48
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    @Tristan You don't need the word 'new' for that to be the case. A 'year' could mean a calendar year, a financial year, an academic year... but "new year" is more often than not referring to the calendar. I would always be specific if I meant "the new financial year", for example.
    – Astralbee
    Sep 22, 2021 at 7:56
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    financial year would usually be specified, but academic years are often just referred to as the new year
    – Tristan
    Sep 22, 2021 at 9:21
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    On the other hand, a comment that says "on the New Year" (particularly if capitalised like that) refers specifically to January the 1st. Sep 22, 2021 at 12:10
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    "on the New Year" doesn't sound natural to my (American) ear, compared to "on New Year's Day".
    – chepner
    Sep 22, 2021 at 15:23
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It probably means early next calendar year - i.e. January. To possibly offer a little more context, and venturing outside the scope of this thread, this often happens if the budget for a position has expired part way through the year, but a new annual budget may fund the position in the new year.

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