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noun in·ven·tion \in-ˈven(t)-shən\

Definition of invention

  1. 1 :  discovery, finding

  2. 2 :  productive imagination :  inventiveness

  3. 3 a :  something invented: as (1) :  a product of the imagination; especially :  a false conception (2) :  a device, contrivance, or process originated after study and experiment b :  a short keyboard composition featuring two- or three-part counterpoint

  4. 4 :  the act or process of inventing

Examples of invention in a sentence

  1. The light bulb was one of the most important inventions of the 19th century.

  2. The stories he told about his military service were just inventions.

  3. His explanation was pure invention.

  4. Parts of the movie were accurate, but much of it was invention.

  5. the invention of a new product

  6. the invention of a false story

  7. an artist with exceptional powers of invention

What is the difference between innovation and invention?

The words innovation and invention overlap semantically but are really quite distinct.

Invention can refer to a type of musical composition, a falsehood, a discovery, or any product of the imagination. The sense of invention most likely to be confused with innovation is “a device, contrivance, or process originated after study and experiment,” usually something which has not previously been in existence.

Innovation, for its part, can refer to something new or to a change made to an existing product, idea, or field. One might say that the first telephone was an invention, the first cellular telephone either an invention or an innovation, and the first smartphone an innovation.

14th Century

First Known Use of invention

14th century

INVENTION Defined for Kids


noun in·ven·tion \in-ˈven-shən\

Definition of invention for Students

  1. 1 :  an original device or process

  2. 2 :  3lie <The story was just an invention.>

  3. 3 :  the act or process of inventing

  4. 4 :  the ability to think of new ideas <He was a man of invention.>

Law Dictionary


noun in·ven·tion

Legal Definition of invention

  1. :  a device, process, or discovery under U.S. patent law that is new and useful, that reflects extraordinary creative ability or skill, and that makes a distinct and recognized contribution to and advancement of science; also :  the act or process of creating such an invention — compare aggregation, combination, equivalent

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