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

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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
Recent Examples on the Web There’s extra attention placed on sustainability and innovation, with new entries including MarediModa and Velvet Mi Amor by Stefano and Corinna Chiassai. Alexandra Harrell, Sourcing Journal, 9 July 2024 For those in creative industries, letting go of outdated ideas, unproductive collaborations and mental clutter can lead to a resurgence of creativity and innovation. Rhett Power, Rolling Stone, 9 July 2024 Designer Feng Chen Wang, who was searching for textiles for her fall 2025 collection, found innovation in natural materials. Rhonda Richford, WWD, 9 July 2024 Rather than detracting from its character, ASU's involvement presents an opportunity to foster innovation, attract talent, and stimulate economic growth. Maritza Dominguez, The Arizona Republic, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for innovation 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'innovation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 18 Jul. 2024.

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

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