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

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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

Emi Nakamura, a University of California at Berkeley professor who has used novel data sources to understand how the economy works in practice, is this year’s recipient of the most prestigious award for young economists. David Harrison, WSJ, "UC Berkeley’s Emi Nakamura Wins John Bates Clark Medal," 1 May 2019 Though the idea may seem novel, Tulipán is not the only brand attempting to raise awareness about this issue through products and services. Gabi Thorne, Allure, "We Need to Talk About “Consent Condoms,” and Why They Don’t Work," 11 Apr. 2019 Both the movie's screenplay and the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey were the work of Kubrick and golden-age sci-fi giant Arthur C. Clarke. Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "2001 in 70mm: Pod bay doors look better than ever, still won’t open," 21 July 2018 We’ve since become acquainted with the designer and her novel approach to couture (the designer does not sell her couture pieces and partly operates her business like a club, with tiered memberships for her deep-pocketed clients). Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "The Bowers Museum Opens Its Guo Pei Couture Exhibition With a Festive Gala," 18 Mar. 2019 In a study reported today in Science Robotics, Hang and colleagues designed and 3D printed bird-like legs for a drone, providing a simple, novel, cheap approach to letting uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) perch. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Clever New Landing Gear Allow Drones To Set Down Like Birds or Bats," 13 Mar. 2019 Celeste Ng’s best-selling 2017 novel Little Fires Everywhere will stream on Hulu later this year as a limited series starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Zoë Ghertner, Vogue, "Reese Witherspoon: Activist, Advocate, Hollywood’s Moral Compass," 10 Jan. 2019 One is the growth of a class of prosperous Kenyans, many of whom take foreign holidays, clog Nairobi’s streets with 4x4 cars and have novel views about education. The Economist, "Elite private schools are booming in Kenya," 21 June 2018 Norm Macdonald has a novel idea for his new Netflix show: Be entertaining. Joe Flint, WSJ, "Norm Macdonald’s Talk-Show Plan: No Monologue, No Band, No Political Commentary," 5 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Writing has been a longtime interest for Stern, who previously wrote seven plays, five short stories and two short novels. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "RB resident’s dog inspires children’s book," 7 June 2019 Massey’s first novel in this series set in 1920s India won the Mary Higgins Clark Award at the 2019 Edgars. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "9 mysteries and thrillers to give you an adrenaline rush this summer," 7 June 2019 Jenna Watson/IndyStar The winding path to an onscreen adaptation for John Green’s first novel is coming to a successful end. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "How to find 'Looking for Alaska': Adaptation of John Green's 1st novel will stream at Hulu," 7 June 2019 That first season was based on the Liane Moriarty novel, and there was no new material on which to base a second. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Big Little Lies' Season 2 is almost as exquisite as the original," 7 June 2019 David Auburn’s adaptation of the 1953 Saul Bellow novel was commissioned and custom-built for the theater’s 251-seat thrust stage. Jesse Green, New York Times, "In Chicago’s Vibrant Theater Scene, Two Tales of One City," 7 June 2019 Built on 20 years of research led by the University of Pennsylvania’s Carl June, the novel therapy had been tried previously only in six adults with blood cancers different than ALL; two experienced dramatic remissions. Marie Mccullough, https://www.inquirer.com, "How conquering a rare leukemia in children revolutionized cancer care for millions," 6 June 2019 Perhaps that is why the class differences, though certainly present, don’t seem to exert the same relentless pull as in Austen’s earlier novel. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "'Emma' at Lifeline Theatre: Jane Austen's matchmaking story is played for warmth and laughs," 6 June 2019 Jessa-Lynn Morton, the protagonist of Mostly Dead Things, has not had an easy life when the novel opens. Tobias Carroll, Longreads, "Kristen Arnett on Taxidermy, Memory, and “Mostly Dead Things”," 6 June 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.

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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

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Statistics for novel

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for novel

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

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More Definitions for novel

novel

adjective

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on novel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for novel

Spanish Central: Translation of novel

Nglish: Translation of novel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of novel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about novel

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