orig·​i·​nal | \ ə-ˈri-jə-nᵊl, -ˈrij-nəl\

Definition of original

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : the source or cause from which something arises specifically : originator
2a : that from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made gave her a copy of the report and kept the original
b : a work composed firsthand This painting is a Van Gogh original.
3a : a person of fresh initiative or inventive capacity an original among popular pianists, combining jazz and romantic techniques in an unusually effective manner— Douglas Watt
b : a unique or eccentric person Among other comedians he's an original.



Definition of original (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting an origin or beginning : initial the original part of the house
2a : not secondary, derivative, or imitative an original composition
b : being the first instance or source from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is or can be made
3 : independent and creative in thought or action : inventive an original artist

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Synonyms & Antonyms for original

Synonyms: Noun

archetype, prototype

Synonyms: Adjective

earliest, first, foremost, headmost, inaugural, initial, leadoff, maiden, pioneer, premier, virgin

Antonyms: Adjective

final, last, latest, latter, terminal, terminating, ultimate

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Choose the Right Synonym for original


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

Examples of original in a Sentence


I gave her a copy of the report and kept the original. This isn't a reprint, it's an original. Compared to other actresses of her generation, she is a true original.


Their original idea was to fix their old car, but they decided to buy a new one instead. The word's original meaning was very different from its current meaning. I gave her a copy and kept the original document myself. The book has been translated into English from the original Spanish. The concept is very original. The car has a highly original design. She has a very original and creative mind. He is admired as an original American composer.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even with all of those remarkable caveats in mind, Windjammers 2 already feels authentic to the original's lightning-fast arcade action. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "PAX hands-on: Retro sequels Streets of Rage 4, Windjammers 2 take us back to ‘94," 1 Sep. 2018 The Standard Collection, exclusively at the Home Depot and at Expo Design Center locations, celebrates the original's great bones. Rebecca Winzenried, ELLE Decor, "Home Magazine's 5th Annual Kitchen & Bath Awards 2003," 5 July 2012 Razer’s attempt to pass it off as being worthy of the same praise as the original is slightly misleading. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Razer Blade 15 dual storage review: too much compromise," 8 Nov. 2018 But while the original was a super-thin 17-inch gaming laptop, the ROG Zephyrus S GX531 shrinks down to a near-bezel-less 15.6-inch screen. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Hands-on with the Asus ROG Zephyrus S, a superportable 15-inch gaming laptop," 16 Aug. 2018 How slavish should subsequent sequels and spin-offs be to the originals? Jake Coyle And Lindsey Bahr, San Francisco Chronicle, "In ‘Solo’ stumble, a crossroads for Disney’s ‘Star Wars’," 5 June 2018 Working from grainy old black-and-white photos, the architects designed LED chandeliers for the lobby modeled on the originals. Jane Margolies, New York Times, "Equitable Building, Spur for Modern Zoning, Will Get a $50 Million Face-Lift," 20 Mar. 2018 Even though reboots are often criticized by fans of the originals and even, sometimes, the cast and crew who worked on the original film or series, OG Sabrina Melissa Joan Hart is all for Netflix's take on the comic. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Everything You Need to Know About the New 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch' TV Show," 1 Aug. 2018 But some viewers thought the show lacked the original's entertainment value because of that, especially since the judges were still harsh to singers who didn't make the cut. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, ""American Idol" Returned to Television and Viewers Were NOT Happy About It," 12 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And here's how Markle wore it, for a party at Courtenay Creative, with the long, structured sleeves from the original removed. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "There's an Unexpected Fashion Connection Between Meghan Markle and Kylie Jenner," 2 Jan. 2019 Luigi’s Mansion 3 Switch Luigi’s spooky spinoff is back, bringing the series back to consoles for the first time since the original GameCube game. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The 40 games we can’t wait to play in 2019," 26 Dec. 2018 Plus, as Theo is reported to take on Andy’s similar stubborn and quick-witted attitude—and with many of the same writers and producers on board—this latest installment will likely bear a familiar resemblance to the award-winning original. Megan Stein, Country Living, "The 'NYPD Blue' Reboot Is Killing Off a Major Character When It Returns," 18 Oct. 2018 Luckily Freeform, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, and Lifetime are killing the original movie game this Christmas. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "55 New Christmas Movies You Can Watch on TV This Holiday Season," 1 Oct. 2018 The idea was apparently not entirely original, as actor Idris Elba reportedly turned down a similar, earlier request for a visit to the café, as per the shop’s tweets. Fox News, "Ryan Gosling stops by Toronto coffee shop after management lobbies for visit with cardboard cut-out," 13 Sep. 2018 Charmed is returning to the CW (the show’s former home, back when it was called the WB) on October 14, featuring a different set of sororal sorcerers from the original. Aimee Lutkin, Marie Claire, "Charmed, Sabrina, and the Return of the Dark Witch," 6 Sep. 2018 Plus, given that the original series was lacking in inclusivity, a re-casting would provide further opportunities for representation. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Why "The O.C." Deserves a Reboot," 26 Dec. 2018 One of Hulu’s first original series ended its four-season fun a few months ago, but that’s just a better reason to check it out. Pilot Viruet, The Verge, "The 12 best overlooked TV shows of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for original

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for original

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

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More Definitions for original



English Language Learners Definition of original

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a document, film, painting, etc., which is created by someone and from which a copy or translation is made

: a person who is different from other people in an appealing or interesting way



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

: happening or existing first or at the beginning

: made or produced first : not a copy, translation, etc.

: not like others : new, different, and appealing


orig·​i·​nal | \ ə-ˈri-jə-nᵊl \

Kids Definition of original

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to the source or beginning : first My room is in the original part of an old house.
2 : not copied from anything else : not translated : new an original painting an original idea
3 : able to think up new things : creative

Other Words from original

originally adverb



Kids Definition of original (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is produced by an artist or writer and from which a copy or translation can be made The paintings are originals. She read the Russian novel in the original.



Legal Definition of original

1 : that from which a copy or reproduction is made both parties signed the original — compare duplicate
2 : a work composed firsthand as the product of an author's creativity

Note: A work must be an original in order to obtain a copyright.

Other Words from original

original adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on original

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for original

Spanish Central: Translation of original

Nglish: Translation of original for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of original for Arabic Speakers

Comments on original

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


a complex dispute or argument

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