inventory

noun
in·​ven·​to·​ry | \ˈin-vən-ˌtȯr-ē \
plural inventories

Definition of inventory 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an itemized list of current assets: such as

(1) : a catalog of the property of an individual or estate

(2) : a list of goods on hand

b : a survey of natural resources

c : a list of traits, preferences, attitudes, interests, or abilities used to evaluate personal characteristics or skills

3 : the quantity of goods or materials on hand : stock

4 : the act or process of taking an inventory

inventory

verb
inventoried; inventorying

Definition of inventory (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make an inventory of : catalog

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Other Words from inventory

Noun

inventorial \ ˌin-​vən-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl \ adjective
inventorially \ ˌin-​vən-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​ə-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms for inventory

Synonyms: Noun

budget, force, fund, pool, repertoire, reservoir, stock, supply

Synonyms: Verb

enumerate, itemize, list, numerate

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Examples of inventory in a Sentence

Noun

We made an inventory of the library's collection. The dealer keeps a large inventory of used cars and trucks. Inventories at both stores were low. How can a small business afford to keep so much inventory? We'll be doing inventory on the collection soon.

Verb

We'll be inventorying the collection soon. would you inventory the supplies in the back room?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Colorado has no caps on licenses, but strict rules designed to limit oversupply allow the state to curtail a growers' farm size based on past crop yields, existing inventory, sales deals and other factors. Gillian Flaccus, The Christian Science Monitor, "Oregon faces fallout from a flooded marijuana market," 31 May 2018 Usually, inventories rise at that time of the year. Steven Mufson, chicagotribune.com, "Oil prices fall as Saudi Arabia signals end to efforts to limit production," 26 May 2018 The region’s housing market continues to suffer from declining inventory, with active listings of homes for sale falling 8.7 percent to 10,136 at the end of June. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "With inventory tight, home prices continue to rise in Baltimore region," 11 July 2018 The center will stock Jet inventory, which includes groceries and everyday essentials, as well as other select merchandise. BostonGlobe.com, "SoftBank raises stake in Yahoo Japan in purchase from Altaba," 11 July 2018 King said Almond growers rely on carryout, or a buffer of the previous year’s inventory, to meet market demand while harvest takes place, from August to October. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "A record 2.45 billion-pound almond harvest could be hurt with Chinese tariffs," 6 July 2018 All of these moves have taken a toll on the organization’s prospect inventory, which wasn’t good to begin with. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Analysis: Manny Machado trade would be right move at right time for Arizona Diamondbacks," 27 June 2018 Gasoline inventories, for example, rose by 1.2 million barrels. Fuelfix Staff, Houston Chronicle, "Crude inventories plunge, adding fuel to oil rally," 27 June 2018 Victoria and Emanuele decided to work for free for one year and set a modest $15,000 investment goal to buy inventory, since waiting around for a bigger launch pad would be more difficult. Judith Ohikuare, refinery29.com, "Can Black Women Do Good & Get Rich In Big Cannabis?," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One goal is to inventory the chemicals released by wildfires, including nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, and a vast array of volatile organic compounds. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Scientists race to reveal how surging wildfire smoke is affecting climate and health," 31 May 2018 There were federal agents all over the house inventorying everything. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "A Decade on, the Fate of Madoff’s Mansions," 21 June 2018 The audit's second part will inventory current performance venues and examine how the city might expand entertainment and cultural options for Huntsville residents. Matt Wake, AL.com, "Is Huntsville's music landscape set for radical change?," 20 Apr. 2018 West Hollywood has identified more than 800 buildings that could be at risk of damage or collapse in a major earthquake, part of a comprehensive effort to inventory them and require retrofits. Ellis Simani, latimes.com, "More than 800 West Hollywood buildings could collapse in a big quake," 3 May 2018 But to protect its species, researchers need to inventory them. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Colombian scientists race to study once-forbidden territory before it is lost to development—or new conflict," 26 Apr. 2018 In fact, researchers are still trying to get a handle on inventorying phage in various microbial communities—like that of the bladder. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Never-before-seen viruses that can kill bacteria stream from women’s bladders," 1 Feb. 2018 While inventorying the vehicle officers discovered more than 2,000 suspected ecstasy pills along with marijuana and possible fraudulent credit cards. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Police say suspect who rear-ended cruiser was drunk: Westlake police blotter," 4 Mar. 2018 While inventorying the vehicle marijuana was found and the suspect was also charged with possession of marijuana. Houston Chronicle, "West University Place police report," 18 Dec. 2017

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1602, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inventory

Noun

Middle English inventarie, inventorie, from Anglo-French inventaire, inventorie, from Latin inventarium, from inventum thing found, topic, neuter of inventus

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Statistics for inventory

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inventory

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

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More Definitions for inventory

inventory

noun

Financial Definition of inventory

What It Is

Inventory is the collection of unsold products waiting to be sold. Inventory is listed as a current asset on a company's balance sheet.

How It Works

Inventory is commonly thought of as the finished goods a company accumulates before selling them to end users. But inventory can also describe the raw materials used to produce the finished goods, goods as they go through the production process (referred to as "work-in-progress" or WIP), or goods that are "in transit."

There are generally five reasons companies maintain inventories:

To meet an anticipated increase in demand;
To protect against unanticipated increases in demand;
To take advantage of price breaks for ordering raw materials in bulk;
To prevent the idling of a whole factory if one part of the process breaks down; and,
To keep a steady stream of material flowing to retailers rather than making a single shipment of goods to retailers.

Inventory can also be used as collateral to obtain financing in some cases.

The basic requirement for counting an item in inventory is economic control rather than physical possession. Therefore, when a company purchases inventory, the item is included in the purchaser's inventory even if the purchaser does not have physical possession of those items.

Inventory is usually classified in its own category as an asset on the balance sheet, following receivables. It is important to note that the balance sheet's inventory account should also reflect costs directly or indirectly incurred in making an item ready for sale, including the purchase price of the item as well as the freight, receiving, unpacking, inspecting, storage, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and other costs associated with it.

Why It Matters

Inventory is a key component of calculating cost of goods sold (COGS) and is a key driver of profit, total assets, and tax liability. Many financial ratios, such as inventory turnover, incorporate inventory values to measure certain aspects of the health of a business.

For these reasons, and because changes in commodity and other materials prices affect the value of a company's inventory, it is important to understand how a company accounts for its inventory. Common inventory accounting methods include first in, first out (FIFO), last in, first out (LIFO), and lower of cost or market (LCM). Some industries, such as the retail industry, tailor these methods to fit their specific circumstances. Public companies must disclose their inventory accounting methods in the notes accompanying their financial statements.

Given the significant costs and benefits associated with inventory, companies spend considerable amounts of time calculating what the optimal level of inventory should be at any given time, and changes in inventory levels can send mixed messages to investors. Increases in inventory may signal that a company is not selling effectively, is anticipating increased sales in the near future (such as during the holidays), or has an inefficient purchasing department.

Declining inventories may signal that the company is selling more than it expected, has a backlog, is experiencing a blockage in its supply chain, is expecting lower sales, or is becoming more efficient in its purchasing activity.

Because there are several ways to account for inventory and because some industries require more inventory than others, comparison of inventories is generally most meaningful among companies within the same industry using the same inventory accounting methods, and the definition of a "high" or "low" inventory level should be made within this context.

Source: Investing Answers

inventory

noun

English Language Learners Definition of inventory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a complete list of the things that are in a place

: a supply of goods that are stored in a place

: the act or process of making a complete list of the things that are in a place : the act or process of making an inventory

inventory

verb

English Language Learners Definition of inventory (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a complete list of (the things in a place) : to make an inventory of (something)

inventory

noun
in·​ven·​to·​ry | \ˈin-vən-ˌtȯr-ē \
plural inventories

Kids Definition of inventory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a supply of goods Inventory is low.

2 : a list of items (as goods on hand)

3 : the act or process of making a list of items

inventory

verb
inventoried; inventorying

Kids Definition of inventory (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a complete list of Store workers inventoried the stock.

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inventory

noun
in·​ven·​to·​ry | \ˈin-vən-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr- \
plural inventories

Medical Definition of inventory 

1 : a questionnaire designed to provide an index of individual interests or personality traits

2 : a list of traits, preferences, attitudes, interests, or abilities that is used in evaluating personal characteristics or skills

inventory

noun
in·​ven·​to·​ry | \ˈin-vən-ˌtōr-ē \
plural inventories

Legal Definition of inventory 

1 : an itemized list of current assets: as

a : a written list or catalog of the property of an individual, organization, or estate or succession that is made by a fiduciary under oath and that usually describes and assigns a value to the items or classes of property

b : aggregate value assigned to an inventory

2 : goods or materials held on hand: as

a under the Bankruptcy Code : materials including personal property leased or furnished, held for sale or lease, or to be furnished under a contract for service, raw materials, work in process, or materials used or consumed in a business held for sale or lease

b under section 9-109 of the Uniform Commercial Code : goods that are leased by a person as lessor, that are held by a person for sale or lease or to be furnished under a contract of service or are furnished under a contract of service, or that are raw materials, works in process, or materials used or consumed in a business

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