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

That would create enormous demand-side pull for DER innovation. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018 The waiver concepts are to be used as a springboard for innovation, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Thursday. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Trump Administration Details Health-Law Waivers for States," 29 Nov. 2018 Kendall Square’s evolution and transformation into a center for innovation and research was anything but certain. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As top innovation hub expands, can straining local infrastructure keep pace?," 6 Nov. 2018 The American audience is broad and supportive of talent, and the world looks to our designs for innovation and interesting storytelling. Faith Cummings, Teen Vogue, "Derek Lam Gives Advice to Young Designers in Powerful Open Letter," 23 Oct. 2018 The impact of this underrepresentation is wide-reaching, from re-enforcing the gender wage-gap (currently women make about 84 cents on the dollar compared to men) to weakened potential for innovation to the outright benefits of social equality. Hans Aschim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Three Women in Science Who Broke the Glass Ceiling," 5 Oct. 2018 Some charter advocates say the lack of regulation is important for innovation and helps improve student achievement. Ricardo Cano, azcentral, "Arizona superintendent candidates: Charters need more financial oversight," 12 July 2018 There are five categories: specialisation for SME innovation,climate action, training, cities in digital transition, education and, for the first time, women empowerment at work. Valerie Sweeten, Houston Chronicle, "Education, training crucial to energy industry success," 8 July 2018 The market is changing at a fast pace, driven by advancements in technology, and the younger generations who are pushing for innovation and growth. Liz Bentley /, NBC News, "Find your greatness this summer," 28 June 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

8 Dec 2018

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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 make faulty or ineffective

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