in·​no·​va·​tion | \ ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce innovation (audio) \

Definition of innovation

1 : a new idea, method, or device : novelty
2 : the introduction of something new

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Other Words from innovation

innovational \ ˌi-​nə-​ˈvā-​shnəl How to pronounce innovational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

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.

Examples of innovation in a Sentence

She is responsible for many innovations in her field. the latest innovation in computer technology Through technology and innovation, they found ways to get better results with less work. the rapid pace of technological innovation
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Recent Examples on the Web The agency’s innovation and science programs would undergo a 29% cut, while DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office declines by 75%, from $2.85 billion to $720 million. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Trump budget runs counter to congressional GOP climate plans," 11 Feb. 2020 As part of this whirlwind of innovation, more cancer centers are setting up genetic sequencing labs, and more oncologists are advising patients to get their tumor tissue genetically sequenced. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Simple Blood Tests Could Revolutionize Cancer Treatment," 7 Feb. 2020 Additionally, the government is handholding startups on the path of innovation. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Budget 2020’s push for startups shows that entrepreneurship is serious business in India," 3 Feb. 2020 The branding is meant to establish a section of downtown Birmingham in the public consciousness as a nexus for entrepreneurs and a vibrant culture of innovation. William Thornton |, al, "Here’s the new name of Birmingham’s downtown innovation district," 28 Jan. 2020 The American death industry hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of innovation. Michael Waters, Wired, "The Future of Death-Tech Has No Rules—Yet," 24 Jan. 2020 Maybe something has changed about the nature of innovation, at least in software. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Silicon Valley Is Losing Its Most Distinctive Trait," 15 Jan. 2020 And no industry actually wants that kind of innovation. Gloria Lau, Quartz, "The healthcare system thinks helping women is bad for business," 10 Jan. 2020 Lone Star College-Tomball Community Library opened their new innovation lab Jan. 28, offering modern technologies for novice and experienced inventors and artists in the community. Paul Wedding, Houston Chronicle, "Lone Star College-Tomball Community Library opens innovation lab," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'innovation.' 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 innovation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for innovation

Time Traveler

The first known use of innovation was in the 15th century

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Statistics for innovation

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Innovation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for innovation


How to pronounce innovation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of innovation

: a new idea, device, or method
: the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods


in·​no·​va·​tion | \ ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce innovation (audio) \

Kids Definition of innovation

1 : a new idea, method, or device : novelty The company's latest innovation is a talking car.
2 : the introduction of something new Consumers are looking for innovation.

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