invention

noun
in·​ven·​tion | \ in-ˈven(t)-shən \

Definition of invention

1a : something invented: such as
(1) : a device, contrivance, or process originated after study and experiment
(2) : a product of the imagination especially : a false conception
b : a short keyboard composition featuring two- or three-part counterpoint
2 : the act or process of inventing
3 : productive imagination : inventiveness

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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 invention in a Sentence

The light bulb was one of the most important inventions of the 19th century. The stories he told about his military service were just inventions. His explanation was pure invention. Parts of the movie were accurate, but much of it was invention. the invention of a new product the invention of a false story an artist with exceptional powers of invention
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Recent Examples on the Web

Like his other work, which includes giant Super Soakers, self-tracking dart-boards, and techie halloween costumes, Rober’s latest invention is meant primarily as a bit of lighthearted fun. Jon Porter, The Verge, "YouTuber builds glitter bomb that farts on unsuspecting package thieves," 18 Dec. 2018 The New York Times described the invention in its obituary for Berezin this way: Its keyboard and printer was an I.B.M. Selectric Typewriter with a rattling print head the size of a golf ball. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Computing pioneer Evelyn Berezin died this week—she should be remembered," 15 Dec. 2018 Oprah declares hair color the best cosmetic invention of the last century. Jessica Berger Gross, Longreads, "Gone Gray," 10 July 2018 Women took to the road by the thousands, experiencing newfound mobility and freedom, to the extent that women’s rights activists hailed the invention as a great emancipator. Kate Siber, Outside Online, "This Seamstress Conquered Bike Racing in the 1890s," 31 May 2018 Karem Karem’s newest invention, and the one Uber will collaborate with the company on, is called Butterfly. Kirsten Korosec, Fortune, "Uber Has Enlisted These 5 Companies to Build Its Flying Cars," 9 May 2018 None of the recipes are Legere’s original inventions. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "T-Mobile is releasing a Slow Cooker Sunday cookbook by CEO John Legere," 6 Dec. 2018 The atomic bomb’s invention took the world by surprise. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Military Wants to Create Synthetic Life Forms to Track Enemies," 4 Dec. 2018 Ohio guide Doreen Uhas-Sauer dodges Segways and other modern inventions while leading walking tours for Columbus Landmarks. Jennifer Levitz, WSJ, "On Freedom Trail: Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church—and Burritos," 30 Nov. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

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Statistics for invention

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for invention

The first known use of invention was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for invention

invention

noun
in·​ven·​tion | \ in-ˈven-shən \

Kids Definition of invention

1 : an original device or process
2 : lie entry 3 The story was just an invention.
3 : the act or process of inventing
4 : the ability to think of new ideas He was a man of invention.

invention

noun
in·​ven·​tion

Legal Definition of invention

: a device, process, or discovery under U.S. patent law that is new and useful, that reflects extraordinary creative ability or skill, and that makes a distinct and recognized contribution to and advancement of science also : the act or process of creating such an invention — compare aggregation, combination, equivalent

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