What does "new lease" mean in "Old hotel gets new lease on life"?
"New lease on life" is an American idiom meaning rejuvenation. The British prefer to say "new lease of life."
The old hotel getting a new lease on life means the hotel is attracting guests again after a period of little business.
If we were talking about the hotel getting a "new lease", then that would mean the hotel's managers have obtained a new rent deal from the property owners allowing them to run the hotel for another number of years after the old agreement expired. Lease is the legal agreement that allows you to use a building, or for that matter, a car, for a specified period of time.
However, "new lease of life", or "on life" as Americans would have it (as though they treat life as a property, too), means rejuvenation. If people have a new lease of life, they are once again healthy, active, buoyant and happy after having been, say, ill, weak, tired, low in spirits and generally lifeless. Office holders, for example, seem to get a new lease of life from vacations. Office workers, you see, love to get away from the work they love. If they are fresh in the New Year, they look tired and dull come March, but give them a trip to Africa (or wherever) and they return to the office re-born. The bounce in their steps returns and they become interesting again to talk to. They are so full of energy that sometimes bosses feel compelled to assign them to the night shift right away.... Ah, well.
Joking aside, things can get a new lease on life, too. That is to say improvements have been made. For example, you can give an old rug a new lease on life by cleaning it. The dirty old piece looked, well, dirty (and you wanted to throw it away). The newly washed thing, on the other hand, has such a brand-new look that you wonder what you were thinking even contemplating throwing it away.
Anyways, here are examples of "new lease of life" and "on life" from the media.
1. Old drugs get a new lease of life
A dozen potential new treatments for conditions as diverse as depression and constipation have been discovered by analyzing the side effects of old and established drugs.
The list of unwanted side effects of any given drug seems endless and repetitive but a German led team has mined this information to work out possible new uses of drugs that have already been tested for other uses.
Although further research will be necessary to back the work, the findings indicate that 260 drugs already on the market (and established as safe) may have additional uses beyond what they're currently prescribed for and, of 20 tested so far, 13 show promise.
- Telegraph.co.uk, July 10, 2008.
2. Transplant gives new lease on life
Today on Father's Day Jennifer Case of Buffalo feels especially fortunate she has her dad.
How great is a father's love? Robert Case gave his daughter his own kidney.
"He gave me life twice," Jennifer said.
- The Buffalo News, June 15, 2008.