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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

At the Showdown, tech innovations will be on display. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Overwatch League’s San Francisco Shock plan to strengthen fan base with festivals," 11 Sep. 2019 And focusing on health care delivery innovations offers a way to do just that. Vijay Govindarajan, Fortune, "To Lower Health Care Costs, Look to International Innovations," 10 Sep. 2019 The LeBron James Building will be the new advanced innovation building for the apparel company and will feature the new Nike Sport Research Lab, which will be five times as big as the current lab. Khadrice Rollins,, "Nike Names New Building at World Headquarters After LeBron James," 5 Sep. 2019 Most of the innovation proposals had simpler financing plans, some of which target non-public sources. Los Angeles Times, "These six developers say they can build housing for homeless people faster and cheaper," 24 Aug. 2019 As the director of product innovation at Netflix and an architect of this unusual form of entertainment, Engelbrecht was intent on studying the emotional responses of Netflix subscribers to Bandersnatch's choose-your-own-adventure approach. Wired, "Netflix's Carla Engelbrecht Chooses Her Own Adventures," 19 Aug. 2019 Technological innovation doesn’t make things better or worse on its own: Humans simply adapt, and remain stubbornly human. Joanna Scutts, Curbed, "The shows we’ve lived by," 14 Aug. 2019 At the time, AutoNation was one of 10 companies competing for the auto maintenance partnership, according to Shaun Stewart, CEO of innovation hub New Lab in Brooklyn, N.Y., and former executive at Waymo. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "How deal-maker Cheryl Miller rose to become AutoNation’s new CEO," 2 Aug. 2019 The innovation’s prototype has a 99% accuracy, according to its founder. Amindeh Blaise Atabong, Quartz Africa, "This startup is using artificial intelligence to help African farmers tackle crop pests and diseases," 2 Aug. 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.

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First Known Use of innovation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for innovation

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

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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 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.

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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).


concealment of treason or felony

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