orig·​i·​nal·​i·​ty ə-ˌri-jə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce originality (audio)
: the quality or state of being original
: freshness of aspect, design, or style
: the power of independent thought or constructive imagination

Example Sentences

Critics have praised the movie's startling originality. I was amazed by the originality of her ideas.
Recent Examples on the Web Despite the lack of originality, only a Grinch would get upset at the homages, which have the comforting feel of familiar holiday traditions. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Nov. 2022 But while using another comedian’s jokes is generally frowned upon — and could constitute a copyright infringement in some cases — there’s no shortage of stars who’ve been accused of … well, a lack of originality. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2022 Is the rise of the multiverse the death of originality? Stephanie Burt, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2022 The performer category honors bands and solo artists who have created music with originality, impact and influence that the hall believes has changed the course of rock 'n' roll. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 1 Nov. 2022 The Forensics in Motion discussion is based on the fact that everyone is very interested in originality, preservation and authenticity. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 28 Sep. 2022 The originality resides in the array of talented artists who’ve been brought in to consult on and contribute to a hostelry that owes almost as much to curation as commercialism. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 In the 21st century, reconfiguration, not originality, is the essence of art. Stephen Marche, The Atlantic, 27 Sep. 2022 Steger Strong has a raw and unflinching originality. Chloe Schama, Vogue, 14 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of originality was in 1742

Dictionary Entries Near originality

Cite this Entry

“Originality.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/originality. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



orig·​i·​nal·​i·​ty ə-ˌrij-ə-ˈnal-ət-ē How to pronounce originality (audio)
: the quality or state of being original : freshness
the originality of an idea
: the power or ability to think, act, or do something in new ways : creativity
an artist of great originality

Legal Definition



: 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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