newLISP focuses on the core components of [[LISP]]: lists, symbols, and lambda expressions. To these, newLISP adds [[array|arrays]], implicit indexing on lists and arrays, and dynamic and lexical scoping. Lexical scoping is implemented using separate namespaces called contexts.

The result is an easier-to-learn LISP that is even smaller than most Scheme implementations, but which still has about 300 built-in functions. Approximately 200k in size, newLISP is built for high portability using only the most common [[UNIX]] system [[C]]-libraries. It loads quickly and has a small memory footprint. newLISP is as fast or faster than other popular scripting languages and uses very few resources.