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

Definition of innovate

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

intransitive verb

: to make changes : do something in a new way

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Other Words from innovate

innovator \ ˈi-​nə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce innovator (audio) \ noun
innovatory \ ˈi-​nə-​və-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce innovatory (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 Facebook’s version doesn’t seem to innovate or improve upon what’s already out there. Lisa Bonos, Washington Post, "Facebook’s new dating feature: Your burning questions, answered," 5 Sep. 2019 Anything that is innovating and unlocking some of those dollars is a good thing. Eric Johnson, Vox, "In 10 years, every “relevant” company will be a tech company, Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake says," 24 July 2019 Cultural fit, or comfort with the company’s prevailing values and beliefs, is one traditional yardstick, but that approach risks building a workforce that lacks diversity and is slow to innovate or question the status quo. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Companies Hire on Potential—If Only They Knew What That Meant," 12 Mar. 2019 McDonald’s has been grappling with how to innovate amid stiff competition from other fast food and fast casual chains and rein in swelling labor costs. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: County clerk faces ‘illegal patronage’ operation allegations, the Art Institute plans a major makeover and other things to know to start your day," 11 Sep. 2019 Committing to company values inspires Coupa employees to continuously innovate for customers. Damanick Dantes, Fortune, "Values Are the Binding Principles of Our Organization, Says This Software CEO," 11 Sep. 2019 Generating long-term value for shareholders, who provide the capital that allows companies to invest, grow and innovate. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Nearly 200 CEOs just agreed on an updated definition of “the purpose of a corporation”," 19 Aug. 2019 Being part of a team who collaborates, creates, innovates to solve problems or develops solutions makes work a joy. Steve Booren, The Denver Post, "Improving Investor Behavior: The price of time," 15 Sep. 2019 During that time, a different kind of executive was needed, one who could innovate on tight margins and stay just ahead of the guillotine of layoffs and cost-cutting while still finding ways to break and promote artists and records. Dan Rys, Billboard, "In Jamaica With Island Records Founder Chris Blackwell," 12 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for innovate

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for innovate

The first known use of innovate was in 1548

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More Definitions for innovate


How to pronounce innovate (audio)

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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