Good day!

First of all, English is not my native language. I know that the word "Novelty" means "something new" but I encounter this word in many different contexts and most of the time I can't understand its contextual meaning.

For example, "novelty" as a noun. In sentence: "Novelty store is the place where you can buy novelties". Also what does the word "Novelty" means in "Novelty store"? As I can imagine it is not just "the place where you can buy novelties". It has other meanings.

Also "Novelty use". What does it mean if a product has a label that it is "For novelty use"?

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  • 5
    'Novelty' often combines notions of 'an intriguing new product', 'something of no practical use' and 'you don't want to be the only kid on the block who hasn't got one [of these overpriced gewgaws]'. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 21 '15 at 12:10
  • "Something of no practical use" like souvenir? Or more like a useless accessory that "everyone should have or else they are not cool"? For example the iPhone can be considered as a novelty? – PanCotzky Dec 21 '15 at 12:44
  • Notice I included 'often' rather than 'always'. The microwave oven was once a novelty. But I'd say that we can live quite adequately without most novelties. There will be a continuum of usefulness. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 21 '15 at 14:16

A novelty is something that is unusual. It can also be used to describe something that is new.

In your context, a novelty shop is a place that sells practical jokes, magic tricks, puzzles, and other "cool" things that children (and some adults, especially the current writer) enjoy. SS Adams used to sell novelty items such as hand buzzers, fish candy, whoopee cushions, itching powder, X-Ray glasses, and stink bombs.

The glasses which are part of my profile come from a novelty shop. Groucho glasses were worn by Steve Martin in his standup comedy days, and always produced a laugh. Steve Martin worked in a Novelty shop for a while.

When it says "For Novelty Use Only" on the product it means that you should only use these items in situations that are not serious or could cause harm to others...in my opinion. In my experience, Dad doesn't enjoy participating in "novelty" experiments after a day of work.

I would not classify the Iphone as a novelty.

  • So, it's closer by meaning to a word "Gimmick" then to "Something new"? – PanCotzky Dec 21 '15 at 14:16
  • No, it's meaning is something new or unusual. A gimmick is a clever device used for something, oftentimes a tool used by magicians to accomplish a trick. – michael_timofeev Dec 21 '15 at 14:24

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