'New Kid on The Block’: Definition, Meaning, Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on November 30, 2023

Have you heard someone say 'New kid on the block,' and wondered what it means? If so, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll explore the meaning of this common idiom, its possible origins, and how to use it in a sentence.

If you're just here to find out what it means, here's the short version:

  • The idiom' new kid on the block' refers to someone or something new to a particular group or area. 

What Does 'New Kid on The Block' Mean?

'New kid on the block' is an idiom, and idioms often have figurative meanings. In this instance, the idiom has two meanings: a literal one and a figurative one.

In the literal sense, you can say that someone is the new kid on the block when they've recently arrived in the neighborhood. 'Block' is American slang for neighborhood because many cities in the U.S. tend to organize their streets geometrically, using a grid system that looks like blocks.

Here's an example of the expression being used in this sort of context:

Have you met the new kid on the block yet? His family moved here from Arizona.

But you can also use the expression to talk about any person, organization, product, or idea that has recently arrived or been introduced and is not yet established or well-known within that context. This might be at the office, in a particular industry, or in terms of fashion trends.

Here's an example:

There was a time when Instagram was the new kid on the social media block, but now it's old news.

The expression can carry neutral and sometimes slightly negative connotations, suggesting that the newcomer may need to prove themselves or earn acceptance in the existing community.

Where Does 'New Kid on The Block' Come From?

The concept of being the 'new kid' is a common experience for many people, particularly in school settings or when joining a new social group. Over time, the phrase has been adapted to refer to various situations where someone or something enters a pre-existing environment. Using "on the block" reinforces the notion of a specific location or community where the individual or entity is new.

The origin of the idiom 'new kid on the block' is not very well documented. Still, we do know that one of its earliest appearances in print was in Percy Crosby's comic Skippy and, more specifically, a 1941 episode published in The Lowell Sun And Citizen-Leader. It goes like this:

The new kid on the block told me that the next time he saw you he was goin’ to twist your nose.

It's a little odd because usually, you would expect the new kid on the block to be the target of bullying, but in this case, it seems to be the reverse. You'd have to read the comic to find out what happened!

Examples in Sentences

Now that we've covered the meaning of this idiom and its origins, here are some example sentences that use it.

As the new kid on the block, it took some time for her to establish herself in the competitive field of journalism.

This small local business is the new kid on the block, but their unique products are gaining popularity quickly.

As the new kid on the block in the software development industry, the startup had to adapt quickly to meet the diverse needs of its clients.

The established companies were initially skeptical of the new kid on the block, but it soon proved to be a formidable competitor.

He felt like the new kid on the block at the office, trying to find his place among experienced colleagues.

The restaurant scene in the city is always changing, with a new kid on the block opening up every month.

In the world of fashion, designers often strive to be the new kid on the block, bringing fresh ideas to the runway.

The established musicians were supportive of the new kid on the block, recognizing the talent and enthusiasm.

As the new kid on the block in the political arena, she faced challenges in gaining the trust of voters.

Despite being the new kid on the block, the marketing agency quickly impressed its first client with innovative strategies.

Other Ways to Say 'New Kid on the Block'

There are plenty of other ways to refer to new people or things. They're great to use if you're looking for alternative phrases.

Here are some of them:

  • newcomer
  • fresh face
  • recent addition
  • Johnny-come-lately
  • up and comer
  • new arrival

Concluding Thoughts

That concludes this article about this popular idiom. To summarize, a 'new kid on the block' is a new arrival in a place, concept, or group. 

Are you ready to learn more English phrases and expand your vocabulary? Check out our idioms blog for other idioms, expressions, sayings, and more! 

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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