in·​no·​va·​tion | \ ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən \

Definition of innovation

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

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Other Words from innovation

innovational \ ˌi-​nə-​ˈvā-​shnəl , -​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

Palladium said proceeds from the deal will be used to grow product innovation, expansion into new channels and potential acquisitions. Kyle Arnold,, "Investment firm buys stake in Orlando manufacturer Spice World," 10 July 2018 The outstretched hand from a previously alienated and snobbish peer is an innovation of the current production, and meant to end the evening on a far more upbeat note than the original oh-beating-can-be-lovely exchange. Corby Kummer, The Atlantic, "How Do Carousel and My Fair Lady Fare in 2018?," 8 July 2018 Lawyers will make their closing arguments Tuesday in a case in San Jose, Calif., that could open the way to greater technological innovation and marketplace competition. Theodore B. Olson, WSJ, "FTC Has Qualcomm’s Number," 28 Jan. 2019 But both of us have seen how political leadership, funding, innovation and individual acts of bravery and compassion can change the world. Marissa G. Muller, Glamour, "Lady Gaga Wrote a Powerful Essay About Mental Health Awareness," 10 Oct. 2018 Medical innovation and strategic investment The quest to provide these societal necessities lies at the heart of Haifa's efforts to modernize, and is prompting the university to take a leading role facilitating change. Jeffrey Barken, Jewish Journal, "Haifa's on the rise with university leading the way," 11 July 2018 The center, which is located on Augusta University’s Riverfront Campus, will include a secure briefing area and an incubator and accelerator to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, university officials said. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "$100 million cybersecurity center set to open in Augusta," 10 July 2018 Borders said the league has hired an innovation and brand design consulting firm to come up with a wide-ranging five-year strategic plan and that everything is on the table, including looking at venues and venue size. Doug Feinberg,, "Some WNBA teams downsizing arenas to help bottom line," 9 July 2018 The resulting economic boom, replete with high levels of innovation and growing paychecks for the long-suffering middle class, would reduce the deficit, while making all America’s other problems easier to solve. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Corporations Invested Their Tax Cuts Into Stock Buybacks That Didn’t Even Work," 9 July 2018

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 1

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Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

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

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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 \

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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Comments on innovation

What made you want to look up innovation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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