invention

noun
in·​ven·​tion | \ in-ˈven(t)-shən How to pronounce invention (audio) \

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

In calling her invention a seatbelt, Ehrensvärd is hearkening back to decades-old innovations at Volvo. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Hardware Security Keys: A Seatbelt for the Internet?—Cyber Saturday," 7 Sep. 2019 With her newest invention, Hobbs is choosing to go the independent route with a manufacturer in China. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Northwest Houston teacher invents silent fidget gadget, begins Kickstarter," 6 Sep. 2019 Roberson explains that his own inventions take, on average, seven to 10 years to be commercialized. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, "Can Spaceflight Save the Planet?," 6 Sep. 2019 After garnering so much publicity for the early results of his invention and the trials at Laurel, Weems saw his dream evaporate. Kevin Leonard, baltimoresun.com, "The dream of electric trains has origins in Laurel," 6 Sep. 2019 Nonetheless, marketing his invention proved far from easy. Fox News, "90-year-old inventor of the ATM celebrates its 50th birthday, admits wife has never used one," 30 Aug. 2019 Though her invention is used in everything from bullet-proof vests to tennis rackets, sneakers, and even snare drums, Kwolek signed away the patent royalties to the company. Dan Samorodnitsky, Smithsonian, "You Can Thank Chemist Stephanie Kwolek for Bulletproof Vests and Yoga Pants," 21 Aug. 2019 My invention for the book jacket means that someone can have the complete works of Jane Austen, but in a certain Pantone chip color that matches the rest of the room or with a custom image. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Gwyneth Paltrow Hired a Personal Book Curator—Here's What He Chose For Her Shelves," 20 Aug. 2019 That is not to say that the city is without the usual menu of urban problems and some of its own invention. Alan Behr, chicagotribune.com, "When Paris does what it does best," 20 Aug. 2019

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

22 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

English Language Learners Definition of invention

: a useful new device or process
: something (such as a false story) that is made up
: the act of inventing something

invention

noun
in·​ven·​tion | \ in-ˈven-shən How to pronounce invention (audio) \

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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