The processing of unfamiliar metaphors was examined using event related potentials (ERPs). We compared the patterns of brain electrical activity elicited by processing two-word expressions denoting literal, conventional metaphoric, and novel metaphoric meaning, as well as unrelated word pairs. Participants performed a semantic judgment task in which they decided whether each word pair conveyed a meaningful expression. N400 amplitude to the second word of the pair varied as a function of expression type in a graded manner increasing from literal expressions to conventional metaphors, to novel metaphors and to unrelated pairs. N400s elicited by novel metaphors showed a right-biased scalp distribution as compared to those elicited by conventional metaphors. Novel metaphors also elicited a right-sided late negativity suggesting further attempts to integrate meaning in a non-literal fashion, a result that supports the sequential view of novel metaphor comprehension. These findings are consistent with recent brain imaging studies and complement them by adding the temporal dynamics dimension.