orig·​i·​nal | \ ə-ˈri-jə-nᵊl How to pronounce original (audio) , -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

An unblemished original of this vintage could sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "The Patents Behind Toy Story’s Beloved Characters," 14 June 2019 For a devout Muslim, renderings of the Koran into other languages are an approximation at best; the Arabic original is the only definitive one. The Economist, "A new rendering of Christianity’s best-known supplication," 8 June 2019 The film is slated to come out on July 19, 25 years after the original was released. Glamour, "Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Went Full-on 'Lion King' With Their Wearable Art Gala Looks," 2 June 2019 Fifty-six years after the band’s Christmas Album, Love has crafted his own collection of covers and originals for the holiday season. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best New Christmas Songs of 2018," 12 Nov. 2018 The relevance of Big’s story in 2019 shows that this struggle is one that continues to exist for young black people, even decades after the original was penned. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, ""Native Son" Reflects a World Where Young Black Men Are Often Set Up to Fail," 16 Apr. 2019 Decades on, many of the Polar Bear pieces—which Royère produced in several colors—have been reupholstered, often in fabrics mimicking the originals. Stephen Wallis, Town & Country, "This Polar Bear Sofa Is Beloved By the Very Rich," 15 Apr. 2019 Some of the laterals might still be the clay originals. Claudia Vargas, Philly.com, "'Nightmare on Monroe Street': A tiny Queen Village block's six-year feud with the Philly Water Department," 6 July 2018 The question of whether or not a reboot would be good is a real one, given how often the sitcom revivals that have been green-lit in our current onslaught simply don’t do justice to their originals. Vogue, "Parks and Recreation Might Really Be Coming Back," 22 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On average, all cars depreciate 38.2 percent over three years, proving the adage of die-hard used car buyers who always let the original owners take the initial decline in value. Ron Hurtibise, sun-sentinel.com, "Top 10 bargains on late model used cars in South Florida | PHOTOS," 15 June 2019 The chain's original owner, Scott Wise, has also had legal troubles. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Scotty's Brewhouse in Brownsburg closes," 13 June 2019 All are completely original and refurbished by the great Siegfried himself, and his son now keeps them going. National Geographic, "Memorable Moments on Europe’s Rivers with Cruise Director Richard Grey," 12 June 2019 The original Macintosh was an adorable dwarf of a computer. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "I Wrote This on a 30-Year-Old Computer," 11 June 2019 The pharmacy itself has existed since 1892, named for its original owners Henry James Boyd and Alexander Maitland Fulford. Matt Button, baltimoresun.com, "Longtime Boyd & Fulford Drugs Store owner celebrates 89th birthday," 11 June 2019 Vickery Eckhoff, great-granddaughter of the original owner, clearly remembers her introduction to timber rattlesnakes. James Mcwilliams, Outside Online, "The Town That Lives with Rattlesnakes," 10 June 2019 After running the car's information through a statewide search, the sheriff's office was unable to find paperwork or identification for the car's original owner, Morgan said. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan sheriff auctioning rare abandoned '69 Plymouth GTX convertible," 5 June 2019 The Arizona Republic couldn't locate the architect and original building owners. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "A bird's-eye view of these Glendale medical offices reveal resemblance to swastikas," 4 June 2019

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

17 Jun 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 How to pronounce original (audio) \

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).


showing courage and determination

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