innovation

noun

in·​no·​va·​tion ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce innovation (audio)
1
: a new idea, method, or device : novelty
2
: the introduction of something new
innovational adjective

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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.

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Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web The greatest innovation to this point has been hybrid work, a tepid attempt to satisfy all parties that just results in everyone still spending their days on Zoom. Trey Williams, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2022 Such radical innovation was out of the question at UTEP, where head coach Bill Yung preferred the classic I-Formation. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2022 Britain’s inane innovation is a price cap that causes disastrous price increases to happen twice a year rather than continuously. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 26 Aug. 2022 Native innovation was also apparent on the runways during the event’s two fashion shows, where 14 Indigenous designers put forward their new collections fusing the old with the new. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 24 Aug. 2022 The success of the lip sync format also doesn’t mean that innovation is impossible. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 18 Aug. 2022 In fact, 75% of companies say innovation is a top-three priority. Kevin Namaky, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022 The latest innovation to come to Alienware's PC monitors is all about creating a convenient place to hang your gaming headset. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 17 Aug. 2022 Pharmaceutical innovation over the past few decades has been tremendous. Simon F. Haeder, The Conversation, 17 Aug. 2022 See More

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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Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near innovation

Cite this Entry

“Innovation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/innovation. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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Kids Definition

innovation

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on innovation

Last Updated: 25 Sep 2022

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