orig·​i·​nal·​i·​ty | \ə-ˌri-jə-ˈna-lə-tē \

Definition of originality 

1 : the quality or state of being original

2 : freshness of aspect, design, or style

3 : the power of independent thought or constructive imagination

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Synonyms for originality


freshness, newness, novelty

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Examples of originality in a Sentence

Critics have praised the movie's startling originality. I was amazed by the originality of her ideas.

Recent Examples on the Web

Anything about originality that everyone posts over and over feels ironic to me. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "How to make $6,000 a day writing Instagram quotes — sort of," 15 Nov. 2018 The Beatles had and still have a uniqueness and a tremendous energy and originality about their early songs that was revolutionary. John Timpane, Philly.com, "'Aladdin' composer Alan Menken saw star potential really early in Lin-Manuel Miranda, and in Ardmore's Benj Pasek, too," 14 June 2018 Harajuku's reputation as Japan's street fashion capital far precedes itself, and indeed there are few places that rival the neighborhood's range and originality in this department. Davey Young, Condé Nast Traveler, "What To Do in Harajuku: Our Guide," 5 Mar. 2018 Yet, for me, the player who best combines originality, winning, and regional identity while competing in the golden era of his sport is Isiah Thomas. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "1 G.O.A.T. to rule 'em all? Who's the greatest in Detroit team sports?," 10 June 2018 Judges are basing their selections on photo captions, originality, and on whether the dream yogurt flavors sound appealing and marketable to the masses. Melissa Locker, Time, "This Company Wants You to Travel the World as a Professional ‘Flavor Finder'," 4 Apr. 2018 If Last Christmas has even 1/10 of the originality that A Christmas Prince’s sequel promises, the anticipation will be enough to carry us all through the long summer months. Anna Millard, refinery29.com, "Move Over A Christmas Prince, You’ve Got Holiday Rom-Com Competition," 1 July 2018 Original names fare much better: the F-22 Raptor is the first jet bearing the name Raptor and, for the sake of originality, hopefully the last for a very long time. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The F-35’s New, Much Better Nickname is “Panther”," 21 May 2018 Ditko was the only Marvel artist given the licence to not draw like Kirby because his signature style -- moody, off-kilter, wirey, and sometimes psychedelic -- possessed an originality that couldn’t be streamlined. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, is dead.," 7 July 2018

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

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for originality

The first known use of originality was in 1742

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More Definitions for originality



English Language Learners Definition of originality

: the quality of being new and different in a good and appealing way


orig·​i·​nal·​i·​ty | \ə-ˌri-jə-ˈna-lə-tē \

Kids Definition of originality

: the quality or state of being creative or new and different



Legal Definition of originality 

: the quality or fact of being the product of individual creation that warrants copyright protection for a particular work regardless of novelty

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living or existing for a long time

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