Any of certain schools of philosophy founded in Athens by successors of Plato as heads of the Academy; specifically (a) that founded by Arcesilaus (316/15–242/1 b.c.) in the 3rd century b.c., now usually called Middle Academy; (b) that founded in the 2nd century b.c. by Carneades of Cyrene (214/13–129/8 b.c.) and developing the mainly sceptical philosophy of Arcesilaus.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas North (1535–?1603), translator. From new + academy, after Hellenistic Greek νέα Ἀκαδημία, classical Latin Acadēmīa nova, or Middle French nouuelle Academie.