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 innovation (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 Medical tech is the most glaring example of how Silicon Valley’s relentless commitment to innovation far outpaces the nation’s laws and regulatory structure. Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2021 The Marshall Islands represented a clean slate for financial innovation: A U.S.-supported nation of 59,000 people spread over more than a thousand islands, with no currency of its own and no central bank. James T. Areddy, WSJ, 18 July 2021 This recognition is only the latest testament to our team’s commitment to innovation and to pushing the boundaries of journalism and storytelling. Time Pr, Time, 15 July 2021 To jettison their hidebound economies, which have led to low productivity and waste, oil-rich economies should commit to reforms that lessen obstacles to innovation and entrepreneurship. CNN, 8 July 2021 As a consequence, the lack of access to quality data hampers innovation. Philipp Sandner, Forbes, 6 July 2021 In Hinkle's Houston-area home kitchen, desperation gave way to culinary innovation. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 6 July 2021 With the line at full steam between two burgeoning cities, the Santa Fe gave rise to another innovation that would become a fixture of the American landscape: the chain restaurant. John Sedgwick, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 June 2021 This high-risk, high-reward approach to innovation is woven into Amazon’s culture. New York Times, 16 June 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Innovation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on innovation

Nglish: Translation of innovation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of innovation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about innovation


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