in·​vent | \ in-ˈvent How to pronounce invent (audio) \
invented; inventing; invents

Definition of invent

transitive verb

1 : to produce (something, such as a useful device or process) for the first time through the use of the imagination or of ingenious thinking and experiment
2 : to devise by thinking : fabricate
3 archaic : find, discover

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from invent

inventor \ in-​ˈven-​tər How to pronounce inventor (audio) \ noun
inventress \ in-​ˈven-​trəs How to pronounce inventress (audio) \ noun

Examples of invent in a Sentence

Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. She is credited with inventing a procedure that has helped to save thousands of lives. She invented a clever excuse. We found out that he had invented the stories he told us about his military service.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web For about a week, no one in Washington or Ottawa could invent a reason for anyone to be in Tehran. Catherine Cusick, Longreads, "25 Movies and the Magazine Stories That Inspired Them," 10 Aug. 2020 But what if someone could invent a razor that stays sharp for six months, or even a year? Eric Niiler, Wired, "Why Do Razor Blades Dull So Quickly?," 6 Aug. 2020 While some of his opinions may be questionable — Trump certainly promoted birtherism but didn't invent it — what in his laundry list is false? Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "How a single sentence in The Atlantic annihilated Trump's coronavirus response," 5 Aug. 2020 Quarantine has inspired plenty of fear, but leave it to a horror aficionado to invent a chillingly fresh twist: a scary movie filmed entirely remotely from the cast members’ homes. Kathy Passero, al, "A Zoom seance goes terrifyingly awry in ‘Host’ on Shudder," 30 July 2020 One thing that may make (1) more reasonable here is that there are network effects around social products and a finite number of different social mechanics to invent. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Zuckerberg wrote “Instagram can hurt us” days before acquisition," 29 July 2020 Both were able to invent a convenient scapegoat, Tye said. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Biographer draws from Marquette archives for deeper view of Joe McCarthy," 8 July 2020 Touching your face is a difficult habit to break, so NASA set out to invent a solution. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus: NASA invented a wearable that reminds you not to touch your face," 29 June 2020 Managers will be asked to read the tea leaves and re-invent the wheel, every day. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: This MLB season will purely be about entertainment," 29 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'invent.' 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 invent

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for invent

Middle English, from Latin inventus, past participle of invenire to come upon, find, from in- + venire to come — more at come

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about invent

Time Traveler for invent

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for invent

Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Invent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for invent


How to pronounce invent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of invent

: to create or produce (something useful) for the first time
: to create or make up (something, such as a story) in order to trick people


in·​vent | \ in-ˈvent How to pronounce invent (audio) \
invented; inventing

Kids Definition of invent

1 : to create or produce for the first time Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
2 : to think up : make up She invented an excuse for being late.

Other Words from invent

inventor \ -​ˈvent-​ər \ noun

Legal Definition of invent

: to create or produce for the first time

Other Words from invent

inventor noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on invent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for invent

Spanish Central: Translation of invent

Nglish: Translation of invent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on invent

What made you want to look up invent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!