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 And this is only possible with a strong foundation in the cloud, which provides the innovation, efficiency and talent advantages to do things differently and fast. Julie Sweet, Fortune, "Accenture’s CEO: 5 rules for rethinking digital transformation during COVID-19," 26 June 2020 The Ebola response drew on 16,000 front-line workers, technological innovation, and a vaccine. Abdi Latif Dahir,, "Congo’s deadliest Ebola outbreak is declared over," 25 June 2020 What-if questions, one of the hallmark techniques of innovation, can also serve to extinguish imagination depending on where they are used. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "What's your 'what if'? Turns out that when you ask it matters," 20 June 2020 A hundred years of innovation in communication has dramatically changed our ability to quickly exchange vital data. Eva Kassens-noor, The Conversation, "5 ways the world is better off dealing with a pandemic now than in 1918," 19 June 2020 And much of the innovation comes from the Bay Area. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: June 16," 17 June 2020 Maybe that's the next innovation of college football offenses. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Remembering top plays, stats and moments from Reggie Bush's USC Trojans career," 12 June 2020 Areas like Tulsa's Greenwood District, Harlem in New York and Washington's U Street and H Street corridors have a rich history of black innovation, ingenuity and brilliance. CNN, "Ben & Jerry's co-founder and a black entrepreneur on ways leaders can stand against racism," 12 June 2020 Key considerations for the upcoming school year include health and safety, parent choice, innovation, communication and equity, according to the district. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Plano ISD considering dual home and campus learning for the fall," 8 June 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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Innovation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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