One the the obstacles we every encounter when finding out vocabulary in a new language is once there room two native in the language you are studying for one indigenous in your own language. 

It is the instance with the indigenous neuf and also nouveau i m sorry both interpret the English native “new”.

You are watching: What does neuf mean in french

What is the difference in between neuf and also nouveau and also when and also how have to you use one or the other?

Use neuf because that something that has never been used before. Neuf come after the noun:

C’est un téléphone neuf. (That’s a new phone) → The phone has never ever been supplied before.Il a un téléphone tout neuf. (He has actually a brand new phone.) → His telephone is simply out that its package, it has never been offered before.

Use nouveau because that something that appears for the very first time, that’s current or for something that you’ve had for a really short time. Nouveau comes prior to the noun:

C’est un nouveau modèle. (It’s a new model.) → The model has actually just been released.Il a un nouveau téléphone. (He has a new phone.) → He acquired it recently, he hasn’t had actually it for long.

Neuf and also nouveau space adjectives, and as friend know, French adjectives adjust forms follow to the noun they define –masculine or feminine–, and additionally whether space singular or plural.

Neuf i do not care neuve in the feminine and also you have to include a final s to obtain neufs and also neuves if the noun is plural.

Nouveau is a bit special since it has actually two develops in the masculine: it i do not care nouvel in front of a singular mrs noun that begins with a collection or a mute h. It i do not care nouvelle in the feminine. Nouvelle simply takes one s in the plural, however nouvel and nouveau both end up being nouveaux (with an x) in the plural.

Here is a table to aid you:

Masculine singularMasculine pluralFeminine singularFeminine plural
neufun jouet neuf (a brand-new toy) 

nouveau / nouvel *

un nouveau vélo (a new bike)un nouvel abri (a brand-new shelter)
neufsdes jouets neufs (new toys) 


les nouveaux vélos (new bikes)


une voiture neuve (a brand-new car) 


une nouvelle table (a brand-new table)


des voitures neuves (new cars) 


les nouvelles tables (new tables)

Sometimes in English us say new to mean other.Careful! Neuf and also nouveau space not the only possible translations of the adjective new in French!

For example, at the restaurant, if the glass you’re provided is not clean, you will want a new one and also in this case you will ask for un autre verre.

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Bonus! Let’s take this opportunity find out an expression:

Être propre comme un sou neuf (to be as clean as a whistle).

Un sou was a coin in the past, originally a gold coin, which describes this expression: clean and also shiny as gold.


There you are! you now understand the difference in between the adjectives neuf and also nouveau. You have the right to practice making use of them. Congratulations!