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

The Italian original was steeped in Jewish tradition (Mr Massini speaks Hebrew), a flavour that Mr Power retains. The Economist, "On stage, the saga of the Lehman brothers is a parable of America," 12 July 2018 From new seasons of Netflix originals like 'Orange is the New Black' to acclaimed films like 'Her,' there is plenty to binge-watch this July. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "Is Netflix best bet for cord-cutters or should you consider Amazon, Hulu or Vudu?," 13 July 2018 Sykes says that Vinnie Paul handled most of the business for the band, even during the days of grinding through North Texas rock clubs, covering songs by Van Halen and Def Leppard but also playing a set of originals. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Former Pantera tour manager shares memories of Vinnie Paul, Dimebag Darrell," 1 July 2018 Our service is all of YouTube ad free, with offline functionality and with originals. Natalie Jarvey, The Hollywood Reporter, "YouTube's Robert Kyncl on Policing World's Largest Video Platform, Logan Paul Controversy," 9 Mar. 2018 As with the originals, the replicas will be located in the team's offices at Toyota Center and will be displayed at events for ticket-holders. David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Leslie Alexander sold the Rockets but kept the trophies," 2 Feb. 2018 And Apple—oh yes, them, the other deep-pocketed tech giant not already in this conversation—is looking at its own slate of originals. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "With 112 Emmy Nominations, Netflix Officially Rules Television," 12 July 2018 The new Arbor packs were designed to have similar visual cues as the originals. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Patagonia's New Packs: Inspired by the Classics But Built for the Future," 10 July 2018 The Waterside location is the second for the concept, and the original opened in Richardson last fall. Celestina Blok, star-telegram, "Restaurant news: South Main grows, Sundance gets Funky and Waterside goes coastal," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

All the material in Portals of the Past is original for The San Francisco Chronicle. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "The original Grizzly Adams kept his bears on a chain in SF," 7 July 2018 One day a beautiful woman named Rebecca comes to work at the prison and entangles Eileen in a noirish plot that reveals how wholly original a character Eileen really is. New York Times, "A Woman Sleeps a Year Away in Ottessa Moshfegh’s Darkly Comic New Novel," 6 July 2018 The dining room’s crystal chandelier is original to the house. Sally A. Downey, Philly.com, "Old combines with new in 1910 Craftsman house in Wynnewood," 3 July 2018 The God Box didn’t have a sample on it -- everything was original sound with instruments. Billboard, "David Banner Gets Candid About Hip-Hop's Instability and the Controversy Surrounding the 'N-Word'," 29 June 2018 But the owner, Dimitri Katsarelias said that some locks cited in bedrooms were antique brass locks that were original to the house. Josh Barbanel, WSJ, "Homeowners Face More Fines as NYC Cracks Down on Short-Term Rentals," 10 July 2018 And where do the most original, unexpected, and non-derivative ideas come from? refinery29.com, "Why Fashion People Love Cult Film Grey Gardens," 3 July 2018 In Middleton's original, her father, Michael, and sister, Pippa, are also in the shot. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William Recreates One of Kate Middleton's Childhood Photos in Jordan," 25 June 2018 Potato Corner offers fries original, loopy, waffled sweet potato, chili-cheese and more, in flavors such as BBQ, cheddar, sour cream & onion and more. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Friday is Fry Day — National French Fry Day, that is. Here are a few faves.," 13 July 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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Phrases Related to original

in the original

Statistics for original

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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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 magnificent or impressive array

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