in·​no·​vate | \ ˈi-nə-ˌvāt How to pronounce innovate (audio) \
innovated; innovating

Definition of innovate

intransitive verb

: to make changes : do something in a new way

transitive verb

1 : to introduce as or as if new
2 archaic : to effect a change in The dictates of my father were … not to be altered, innovated, or even discussed …— Sir Walter Scott

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Other Words from innovate

innovator \ ˈi-​nə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce innovate (audio) \ noun
innovatory \ ˈi-​nə-​və-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce innovate (audio) , ˈi-​nə-​ˌvā-​tə-​rē \ adjective

Examples of innovate in a Sentence

The company plans to continue innovating and experimenting. The company innovated a new operating system.
Recent Examples on the Web And this individual action on your part can, in turn, nurture the cultural change needed to help your organization innovate and succeed amid today’s great challenges. Debra Pickett, Forbes, 13 May 2021 The safest, most efficient way to do so — one that would preserve the incentives to innovate in the future — would be for wealthy countries to buy and distribute vaccines at below or no cost to poor countries. Joel Zinberg, National Review, 10 May 2021 Government had to innovate in order to get to the moon, and that meant trial and error. Ganesh Sitaraman, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2021 Pharma companies have not been incentivized to innovate in part because their current women’s health drug programs are extremely profitable businesses that in some cases make more than a $1 billion a year for a single drug franchise, Beim says. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, 19 Apr. 2021 After moving to Ghana in 2017, an opportunity to innovate presented itself in an unexpected way. Daryl Brown, CNN, 26 Mar. 2021 The highest of the foundation awards, given to the program embodying the first three attributes — inspire, innovate and achieve. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 May 2021 Those who continue to innovate, pivot and listen to their residents will be poised for continued success. Aaron Galvin, Forbes, 11 May 2021 The resulting social support networks may have contributed to resilience to injury and disease, leaving H. sapiens better equipped to innovate out of dire climatic straits and live longer. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 10 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'innovate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of innovate

1548, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for innovate

Latin innovatus, past participle of innovare, from in- + novus new — more at new

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Time Traveler for innovate

Time Traveler

The first known use of innovate was in 1548

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Statistics for innovate

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Innovate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for innovate



English Language Learners Definition of innovate

: to do something in a new way : to have new ideas about how something can be done


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