orig·​i·​nal·​i·​ty | \ ə-ˌri-jə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce originality (audio) \

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


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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 The novel does have its charms, as shown by its simplicity and originality drawn from a quiet setting, an easy plot, and everyday characters who lead far from complicated lives. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 What transformed a standard-issue modernist into a creative force of indomitable originality in his mid-50s? Alex Beam, WSJ, "Louis Kahn: Listen to the Bricks," 31 Dec. 2020 Winners will be selected on originality, quality and relevance to the theme. Gabriel Morley | Contributing Writer, NOLA.com, "Enter your short stories, poems or essays with the theme 'Escape' into library contest," 24 Dec. 2020 As the exhibition unfolds, artists-penitent, shrinking from the perils of originality, dominate in Russia. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "What Are Artists For?," 21 Dec. 2020 Entries were judged on originality and creativity, spirit of the season and professionalism. John Ewoldt, Star Tribune, "Martin Patrick's 'Nutcracker' window display beats out Rodeo Drive in national contest," 16 Dec. 2020 Entering his 10th career start, rookie Justin Herbert has been so surprisingly good and so surprisingly fast that his teammates already are running low on originality. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Justin Herbert continues record pace, but Chargers need more," 28 Nov. 2020 Kicking off a midcareer surge, Streep brings a thrilling, fierce originality to her vituperative fashion guru. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "7 of Meryl Streep's most memorable performances in roles big and small," 8 Dec. 2020 The picture that emerges, however, is of an industry constantly finding creative ways to renew itself, rather than one lacking originality. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Is fashion doomed to repeat itself?," 28 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for originality

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The first known use of originality was in 1742

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Statistics for originality

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Originality.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/originality. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for originality


How to pronounce originality (audio)

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 How to pronounce originality (audio) \

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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