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

Definition of original

 (Entry 1 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



Definition of original (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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.
2a : 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.
3 archaic : the source or cause from which something arises specifically : originator

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Synonyms & Antonyms for original

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

Adjective 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. Noun 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Every episode features original songs — rock, pop, power ballads, and Broadway-style tunes — that will get your toes tapping. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Goofy ‘Julie and the Phantoms’ is the biggest thing since ‘High School Musical’," 5 Sep. 2020 That radical movements and revolutions take on a religious character is an insight that is hardly original to me. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Lives of the Martyrs," 4 Sep. 2020 Two of the bells that were original to the tower are dated 1623 and 1747, respectively, and are believed to have come from a Catholic church in Cavezzo, Italy, according to Community Bell Advocates. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Restored Niles Leaning Tower bells to ring again starting Labor Day weekend," 26 Aug. 2020 After a disastrous appearance in 2016 in which Trump lifted lines from a Michelle Obama speech, Trump's chief of staff made news by promising that her 2020 remarks would be wholly original. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "The moment Melania Trump became ‘mourner-in-chief’," 26 Aug. 2020 The album will include a mix of traditional holiday classics, as well as original songs. Leigh Crandall, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood is Releasing Her First-Ever Christmas Album," 25 Aug. 2020 Arguably, the answer-question is not as original as the question-question, but both impressed the boss. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "The best job interview question, according to Angela Duckworth of “Grit” fame," 21 Aug. 2020 Uscinski said some of the QAnon claims aren't even original. CBS News, "Why President Trump's refusal to refute QAnon conspiracy theorists matters," 20 Aug. 2020 The importance of music extends into the plot of the show itself, with several original songs making an appearance. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, "Teenage Bounty Hunters," 17 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun McDaniel, who had shifted to consulting after losing her job as pastry chef at Cunningham Restaurant Group to the coronavirus pandemic, delivered 13 recipes, all preservative-free like the original. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, "From chocolate to key lime pie, you can subscribe to get Sahm coffee cakes by mail," 11 Sep. 2020 Machado likes that the offense got a second installment of the Touchdown Rings after the original, which had the same font and style, in 2019 was a hit. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, "Taking it to 'The Crib’: Miami Hurricanes have new Touchdown Rings," 10 Sep. 2020 No word on whether the revival will echo the original by having a toy duck drop down to provide the Secret Word. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Jay Leno returns to comedy hosting gig, taking on syndicated 'You Bet Your Life' revival," 10 Sep. 2020 Newcomer Emma Corrin will play the late royal in the Netflix original’s fourth season, and a new interview reveals that transforming into the People’s Princess was no small task. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "The Crown Star Emma Corrin Reveals The Detailed Process Behind Her Transformation Into Princess Diana," 8 Sep. 2020 This Disney Channel original follows a girl named Mitchie (played by Demi Lovato) who heads to Camp Rock with dreams of becoming a singer. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "52 Best Teen Movies You Can't Grow Up Without Watching," 24 Aug. 2020 The group original planned to buy and renovate a property on N. Claiborne Avenue, but a developer swooped in and outbid them, Moore says. NOLA.com, "Meet Gambit's 40 Under 40 class of 2020," 17 Aug. 2020 The film captures the playful mood of the original through a surreal blur of bright hues, the swirl of fabrics and powders, and the outrageous matchmaker who is hilariously portrayed by Pei-Pei Cheng (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Minhae Shim Roth, Glamour, "Mulan Movie Review: The Live-Action Adaptation Wasn’t What I Expected—But I Still Felt Seen," 4 Sep. 2020 Fans of the original will get a kick out of the matchmaker scene. cleveland, "Disney’s live-action ‘Mulan’ strays from the original, and that’s a good thing," 3 Sep. 2020

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 3

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Time Traveler for original

Time Traveler

The first known use of original was in the 14th century

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Statistics for original

Last Updated

9 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Original.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/original. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for original


How to pronounce original (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of original

 (Entry 1 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



English Language Learners Definition of original (Entry 2 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


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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