nov·​el·​ty | \ ˈnä-vəl-tē How to pronounce novelty (audio) \
plural novelties

Definition of novelty

1 : something new or unusual the novelty of a self-driving car
2 : the quality or state of being novel : newness an uncritical acceptance of novelty as advance— H. M. Jones A toy's novelty soon wears off.
3 : a small manufactured article intended mainly for personal or household adornment usually used in plural Disney novelties filled the shelves.
4 : something (such as a song or food item) that provides often fleeting amusement and is often based on a theme often used attributively The movie included a few novelty songs.

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Examples of novelty in a Sentence

the novelty of space exploration Electric-powered cars are still novelties. Eating shark meat is a novelty to many people.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The common and true argument is that narrative novelty, diverse stories, exciting new writers, directors and actors, and welcome surprises are everywhere to be found on home screens, while most of what plays in theaters is big, safe and familiar. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Summer 2019's Sad, Stale State of the Movies," 8 July 2019 Devices like sparklers, fountains, novelties, reloadable shells and roman candles caused about 40 percent of the injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Naseem S. Miller,, "Orlando Health surgeon whose patients lost hands is warning about dangers of fireworks," 1 July 2019 The interest in Aibo established a market for products that functioned not just as toys or novelties, but as real companions. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "The Second Coming of the Robot Pet," 1 July 2019 The research suggests being disinterested in one chore at work might lead you to look for novelty in the next. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "The surprising benefit of being bored at work," 1 July 2019 Cultural critics hastened to point out that black cowboy culture was neither an anomaly nor a novelty, and that country music itself is firmly and unambiguously rooted in black musical traditions. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Lil Nas X Is the Sound of the Internet, Somehow," 24 June 2019 After a glut of shopping opportunities at New York auctions in May and at the Swiss fair Art Basel this month, jaded collectors are descending on London craving novelty, not safe bets. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Art Collectors Get Picky at London Auctions," 23 June 2019 The finding was reported mainly as a novelty and faded into obscurity. Andrew Revkin, National Geographic, "Trees release flammable methane—here's what that means for climate," 25 Mar. 2019 And one side is dominated by two shipping containers that serve as bar and kitchen, a novelty in the Milwaukee area. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dining patios proliferate around Milwaukee; a look at some new ones for 2018," 10 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for novelty

Middle English novelte, borrowed from Anglo-French novelté, from novel "new, novel entry 1" + -té -ty

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Statistics for novelty

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for novelty

The first known use of novelty was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for novelty



English Language Learners Definition of novelty

: the quality or state of being new, different, and interesting
: something that is new or unusual : something novel
: something unusual and entertaining that is popular for a short period of time


nov·​el·​ty | \ ˈnä-vəl-tē How to pronounce novelty (audio) \
plural novelties

Kids Definition of novelty

1 : something new or unusual Grandma remembers when television was a novelty.
2 : the quality or state of being new or unusual The toy's novelty soon wore off.
3 : a small unusual ornament or toy


nov·​el·​ty | \ ˈnä-vəl-tē How to pronounce novelty (audio) \
plural novelties

Legal Definition of novelty

: the quality or state of being new : quality of being different from anything in prior existence satisfied the requirement of novelty for a patent on the design

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More from Merriam-Webster on novelty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for novelty

Spanish Central: Translation of novelty

Nglish: Translation of novelty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of novelty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on novelty

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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