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

Definition of innovation

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Even after hours go by, you won’t be bored: The Abbruzzinos’ arsenal of innovation seems endless. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Get ready for a long night — and to have your mind blown — at Arama," 15 Aug. 2019 Tonight at the Wexford Building, a conversation about the history of innovation in Providence’s jewelry district. Dan Mcgowan,, "R.I.’s best Little League World Series teams, ranked," 15 Aug. 2019 Even if the banks catch up to where the fintechs were years ago, the upstarts say, their tech will be too clunky to make the leap when the next round of innovation comes along. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Digital banks are racking up users, but will they ever make money?," 1 Aug. 2019 Birmingham’s tech ecosystem is thriving, and Sloss Tech provides the platform where founders, startups, and technologists can hear and share new ideas, build relationships, and push the boundaries of innovation. al, "4 festivals to attend this month, plus August events," 1 Aug. 2019 Political Braun served as chief technologist in 2010, back when the Obama administration created NASA's Space Technology program to foster just this kind of innovation in America's private space industry. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA agrees to work with SpaceX on orbital refueling technology," 31 July 2019 Many agree that the emerging wave of technological innovation in fields including robotics and artificial intelligence holds the promise of boosting productivity. Robert D. Atkinson, National Review, "Higher Productivity Is Good for Workers," 25 July 2019 Meantime, the museum next year plans to remodel its primary exhibition space on the second floor and remake its central exhibition on television history, Justin Kulovsek, vice president of innovation, has said. Steve Johnson,, "Museum of Broadcast Communications picks Chicago journalist Susy Schultz as new executive director," 25 July 2019 During Botticelli’s youth, Florence was the center of innovation in Italian art. Allesandra Pagano, National Geographic, "The painter behind 'Birth of Venus' invented a new kind of art," 24 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of innovation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about innovation

Statistics for innovation

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for innovation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for innovation



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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!