in·​no·​va·​tion ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce innovation (audio)
: a new idea, method, or device : novelty
: the introduction of something new
innovational adjective

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web Chaya is confident that with more information, some collectors will ultimately invest in creativity and innovation. Emily Jensen, Allure, 1 Mar. 2023 This type of leadership also encourages creativity and innovation, which can help an organization stay ahead of the competition. Expert Panel, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2023 However, there is endless opportunity in the creativity and innovation that compromise can inspire. Kenneth Imo, Fortune, 3 Feb. 2023 The film explores the events of 2020 and 1969, and each year’s success in science, technology and innovation for the U.S. Charna Flam, Variety, 2 Feb. 2023 Fueling the wave on innovation is a construction crisis. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2023 Street dance in general has always been about individuality, creativity, and innovation. Karen Campbell,, 20 Jan. 2023 Chris Mattmann, chief technology and innovation officer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who praises Workrooms as a more equitable meeting tool than videoconferences, acknowledges that getting new users up and running takes time. WIRED, 6 Jan. 2023 But for all his talk about technology and innovation, Pepe, like a true chef, knows there is one thing that matters above all else for pizza lovers around the world. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near innovation

Cite this Entry

“Innovation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​no·​va·​tion ˌin-ə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce innovation (audio)
: the introduction of something new
: a new idea, method, or device

More from Merriam-Webster on innovation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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