novel

adjective
nov·​el | \ ˈnä-vəl How to pronounce novel (audio) \

Definition of novel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : new and not resembling something formerly known or used New technologies are posing novel problems.
2 : original or striking especially in conception or style a novel scheme to collect money

novel

noun

Definition of novel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events
2 : the literary genre consisting of novels

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from novel

Noun

novelistic \ ˌnä-​və-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce novelistic (audio) \ adjective
novelistically \ ˌnä-​və-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce novelistically (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for novel

Adjective

new, novel, original, fresh mean having recently come into existence or use. new may apply to what is freshly made and unused new brick or has not been known before new designs or not experienced before. starts the new job novel applies to what is not only new but strange or unprecedented. a novel approach to the problem original applies to what is the first of its kind to exist. a man without one original idea fresh applies to what has not lost its qualities of newness such as liveliness, energy, brightness. a fresh start

Did You Know?

If someone tells you that you've come up with a novel idea or a novel interpretation of something, it's probably a compliment: not everyone is capable of original thinking. But not everything new is terribly worthwhile; a novelty, for example, is often a cute (or maybe just silly) little object that you might put on a display shelf in your house. It may seem surprising that the familiar noun novel is related as well. In the 14th century, Italian writers began writing collections of short tales, each of which they called a novella because it represented a new literary form; from this word, three centuries later, the English coined the noun novel.

Examples of novel in a Sentence

Adjective She has suggested a novel approach to the problem. Handheld computers are novel devices.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Others admire your precision and ability to come up with novel ideas. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 13 Jan. 2020 But in the meantime, states, advocates — even the drug and insurance industries — were devising novel strategies for solving this perplexing challenge. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "3 drug pricing policy experiments to watch in 2020," 2 Jan. 2020 University of Virginia law professor Richard Schragger said Norfolk is employing a relatively novel and untested legal strategy in federal court. USA TODAY, "‘Stranger’ tourists, Phish and the plague, kinkajou attack: News from around our 50 states," 22 Aug. 2019 Norfolk’s lawsuit employs a relatively novel and untested legal strategy in the federal court system for trying to remove a Confederate monument, legal experts say. Washington Post, "City sues to remove Confederate monument, citing free speech," 20 Aug. 2019 In a novel legal strategy to seek redress for being separated from their families at the border, these asylum-seeking mothers are suing the U.S. for emotional distress. Los Angeles Times, "Remembering Jonathan Gold a year after his death," 18 July 2019 Deepen your knowledge of human-elephant conflict, learn about collar-tracking, and meet up with local teens to brainstorm novel strategies for protecting wildlife. National Geographic, "Botswana & Victoria Falls High School Expedition," 17 June 2019 Eves and Sweet are employing a novel campaign strategy to match Maine's new way of electing candidates. CBS News, "In Maine, new voting system faces landmark test," 8 June 2018 But Brookings relied on a novel approach to assess which jobs could be hurt by AI. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "AI poses greater threat to college grads than people without degrees," 20 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The show is an adaptation of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, and the world of the Continent is heavily influenced by his home country. Christian Holub, EW.com, "5 things we learned from Netflix's official The Witcher podcast," 16 Jan. 2020 Obviously Alleyne will succeed at both, but which of the novel’s other characters will survive? Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "Arthur Conan Doyle wrote more than detective novels. Let’s not forget his more swashbuckling stories.," 15 Jan. 2020 Julia Kelly is the author of the novel The Whispers of War, available now from Gallery Books. Julia Kelly, Time, "Hundreds of Britons Volunteered for a Diary-Keeping Project in 1937. They Left an Invaluable Record of World War II," 14 Jan. 2020 Of all the scenes laid out over the first six hours of The Outsider, a new HBO adaptation debuting Sunday of the 2018 Stephen King novel, nothing quite matches the chills of the very first scene. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Supernatural Gets Serious in The Outsider," 12 Jan. 2020 When the show added scenes out of order, such as Cersei and Jaime's scene over Jon Arryn's body in the pilot, they too were lifted directly from other parts of the novels. Ani Bundel, Ars Technica, "The Witcher’s Netflix success: How three timelines somehow became cohesive," 11 Jan. 2020 But fans of the 19th-century French novel have seen this before. Susanna Lee, The Conversation, "We’re living in the bizarre world that Flaubert envisioned," 10 Jan. 2020 Little Women Director Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel is gently radiant with an underlying thoughtfulness — a sensitivity to how decisions shape a woman’s fate — closer to the moral gravity of Jane Austen. Tom Gliatto, PEOPLE.com, "The 10 Best Movies of the Year, According to PEOPLE’s Critic," 26 Dec. 2019 The show is based on a series of novels by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Rhett Allain, Wired, "The Expanse Is Sci-Fi Like TV Has Never Seen," 23 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'novel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of novel

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1639, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for novel

Adjective

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & continental Old French, "new" — more at nouveau

Noun

earlier nouell, nouelle "short prose narrative," borrowed from Italian novella — more at novella

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about novel

Time Traveler for novel

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for novel

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Novel.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/novel. Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for novel

novel

adjective
How to pronounce novel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of novel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: new and different from what has been known before

novel

noun

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

: a long written story usually about imaginary characters and events

novel

adjective
nov·​el | \ ˈnä-vəl How to pronounce novel (audio) \

Kids Definition of novel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: new and different from what is already known a novel idea

novel

noun

Kids Definition of novel (Entry 2 of 2)

: a long story usually about imaginary characters and events

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on novel

What made you want to look up novel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!