novel

adjective
nov·​el | \ ˈnä-vəl \

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 \ adjective
novelistically \ ˌnä-​və-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

In the 1930s, a small group of New York City artist—including Mexican muralist David A. Siqueiros and Jackson Pollock—began experimenting with novel painting techniques and materials. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: modern masters like Jackson Pollock were “intuitive physicists”," 26 Dec. 2018 The novel’s central relationship is between Celestial and Roy, an artist and an executive who together are the perfect image of a young, newlywed black American couple in love. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Thanks to the research, the scientists have been proven right: The Dracula ant uses a completely novel method to snap its jaws shut. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Dracula Ant's Lightning Mandibles Make It the Fastest Animal in the World," 12 Dec. 2018 Having gained experience in the industry, Givenchy struck out on his own in 1952 with a novel collection of haute separates. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Remembering the Fashion Figures We Lost in 2018," 3 Dec. 2018 His wife, however, a stay-at-home mom with a medical-school background, had a novel idea. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "How One Couple Came Up With a Fashionable Mask for Travelers," 25 Nov. 2018 With his over-concern with bigness per se, Brandeis had nothing to say about these novel issues, and neither, alas, does Mr. Wu. Richard A. Epstein, WSJ, "‘The Curse of Bigness’ Review: Revisiting the Gilded Age," 2 Dec. 2018 Staffed by former prosecutors, the group adopted a novel legal strategy of obtaining secret court warrants that enabled it to seize computers and web domains affiliated with the botnets. Elizabeth Dwoskin, The Seattle Times, "Microsoft CEO Nadella welcomes scrutiny that has roiled tech industry. Easy for him to say," 9 Oct. 2018 An event focused on empowering women may not seem very novel to today's young women. Danielle Page, USA TODAY, "Empowering advice from today’s top women leaders at the 2018 KPMG Women's Leadership Summit," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Game of Thrones is the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin's best-selling Song of Ice and Fire series of novels—for those of you who've been living under a rock since the show debuted in 2011 and turned into a bona fide global phenomenon. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here’s the first teaser for the final season of Game of Thrones," 13 Nov. 2018 In 1907, businessman and author Thomas Lawson published a novel entitled Friday, the Thirteenth about a rogue broker who chose that date to destroy the stock market. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Why Do People Think the Number 13 Is Unlucky? Let's Talk About Triskaidekaphobia," 29 Aug. 2018 The eight-episode first season will cover the entirety of the first book in the series, My Brilliant Friend, and the plan is to dedicate one season to each of the following three novels, for a total of 32 episodes. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "My Brilliant Friend: Everything We Know About HBO's Elena Ferrante Adaptation," 26 July 2018 Her husband, known under the pen name Willy, recruits Colette to ghostwrite a novel to be published under his name. Sydney Odman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Colette' Trailer: Keira Knightley Fights for Literary Ownership in Feminist Period Drama," 11 July 2018 The first episode of Extreme Meatpunks Forever, a new visual novel by Heather Robinson, begins in a bar, with two gay men chatting. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Extreme Meatpunks Forever," 11 July 2018 Fluff like this is a, well, inspired choice – the theatrical equivalent of a throwaway beach novel. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Xanadu' glitters with goofiness at the Garden," 7 July 2018 Native San Diegan Michelle Gable has written a new novel based on true events. Denise Davidson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "In 'The Summer I Met Jack,' author Michelle Gable finds the real-life connection," 1 July 2018 But a novel workaround might help the states lower their costs. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Can a federal drug discount program unlock savings for state prisons?," 14 June 2018

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

8 Jan 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 \

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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