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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Phone makers have invented foldable creations, dreamed up radar-sensing displays, and added more and more cameras to entice people to break that quadruple digit price tag. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The New iPhone SE, the Apple Phone for Everyone," 28 Apr. 2020 The program also invented a word, Abbus, used as the song’s title. Amy Thomson,, "Robots Sing For Death and Revolution at Eurovision’s AI Contest," 24 Apr. 2020 One bright young former census agent, Herman Hollerith, invented a machine to tabulate results by first encoding them in punch cards and then feeding those cards through an electric machine. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Enumerated Story of the Census," 13 Apr. 2020 His brother invented James Bond, but 26-year-old journalist Peter Fleming? Courtesy Verso Books, National Geographic, "In the first installment of our series “Around the World in 80 Books,” we feature 10 adventure tales that we can dive into—even from our armchairs.," 3 Apr. 2020 His company invented a machine that cleans the decks of aircraft carriers, and is considered an essential service. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "As some providers scramble for masks and protection, Alaskans try to fill the gap.," 29 Mar. 2020 Gold Star Chili invented the chili drive-thru, as CEO Roger David points out in a letter to customers on the Gold Star website. Polly Campbell,, "Skyline, Graeter's, LaRosa's: Will Cincinnati's iconic restaurants outlast coronavirus?," 27 Mar. 2020 Horner emphasized that inventing Battle Toss was never about making money. cleveland, "Brook Park inventor donates Battle Toss games to city," 29 Feb. 2020 Stylists like Guido Palau and Duffy invent some of the most groundbreaking, trendsetting hairstyles for the likes of Miu Miu (think: extra-long extensions) and Rick Owens (bald caps, anyone?). Kristen Bateman, Allure, "The Best Hair and Makeup Looks From Paris Fashion Week," 26 Feb. 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.

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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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Statistics for invent

Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Invent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on invent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for invent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with invent

Spanish Central: Translation of invent

Nglish: Translation of invent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invent for Arabic Speakers

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