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

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Other Words from invent

inventor \ in-​ˈven-​tər How to pronounce invent (audio) \ noun
inventress \ in-​ˈven-​trəs How to pronounce invent (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Johnson would invent the scow, which would become the world's fastest boat, one of which would hang in the Smithsonian Institute. Jim Souhan, Star Tribune, 20 July 2021 But at least as far as the state of Israel is concerned, Netanyahu didn’t invent any of these problems. Dahlia Scheindlin, Time, 8 June 2021 There’s just one problem: Montañez didn’t invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, according to interviews with more than a dozen former Frito-Lay employees, the archival record and Frito-Lay itself. Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2021 Signs have been stolen since Abner Doubleday didn’t invent the game. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 May 2021 Some believed Liemandt also helped invent the bro culture that made tech hostile for women. Nathan Vardi, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 And while BarVista didn’t invent Irish nachos, their version is a new Huntsville appetizer to know. Matt Wake |, al, 15 Feb. 2021 Companies and labs like Kaplan’s and Lewis’ picked a lane early on—to either invent a supply of spider silk or reengineer the less-tough silkworm stuff. Max G. Levy, Wired, 28 June 2021 Longtime RiskHedge readers know disruptors are companies that change the world and invent the future. Stephen Mcbride, Forbes, 21 June 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for invent

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Invent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for invent



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


transitive verb

Legal Definition of invent

: to create or produce for the first time

Other Words from invent

inventor noun

More from Merriam-Webster on invent

Nglish: Translation of invent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invent for Arabic Speakers


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