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 What Altman has done better than most college coaches is simply re-invent his program. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon Ducks are a program in need of a big transformation," 29 Mar. 2021 And the Manhattan Project employed 1940s-era technology to invent and use the first atomic weapons in only three years, beginning from a purely theoretical understanding. William R. Graham, National Review, "Iran Probably Already Has the Bomb. Here’s What to Do about It," 19 Mar. 2021 There is the living experience of every indigenous community in the United States, and of others around the globe that have been forced to invent ways to resist and survive a system determined to erase them. Ben Ehrenreich, The New Republic, "We’re Hurtling Toward Global Suicide," 18 Mar. 2021 Knowledge swims up from invention and imagination—from ardor—and sometimes even an essay can invent, burn, guess, try out, dig up, hurtle forward, succumb to that flood of sign and nuance that adds up to intuition, disclosure, discovery. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, "The Struggle and the Scramble," 16 Mar. 2021 The job is to invent the company's future, which requires a fundamentally different mindset, skillset, and toolset from what's needed to lead the core business. David Nour, Forbes, "Real Corporate Innovation Needs Board-Level Stewardship," 5 Mar. 2021 The theater community is experiencing a devastating loss right now, but its ability to innovate, invent and continue to create joy gives great hope for what will return. New York Times, "Revel in the Power of Theater," 13 Feb. 2021 The scarcity drove a panicked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to beg airplane, automotive and even vacuum cleaner manufacturers — with no experience in producing medical devices — to retool their assembly lines and invent new machines. Washington Post, "Ventilators were embraced as pandemic lifesavers. Now some covid patients wrongly fear the machines will kill them.," 16 Mar. 2021 Warner Brothers didn’t just invent the phenomenon of Bugs Bunny? New York Times, "Keegan-Michael Key Will Do Anything for a Laugh," 1 Feb. 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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Statistics for invent

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Invent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 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

Legal Definition of invent

: to create or produce for the first time

Other Words from invent

inventor noun

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Comments on invent

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