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

Synonyms & Antonyms for original

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But, circling back to the original point, don’t sign a referral just because your client was nice enough to make an introduction. Christopher Tompkins, Forbes, 28 June 2022 This option deletes all user data and restores the PS4 console to its original state(factory defaults). Toby Grey, BGR, 28 June 2022 Frontier on Friday boosted the cash portion of its bid to $4.13 a share — up about $2 from its original bid — along with 1.9126 shares of its stock for each of Spirit’s. Mary Schlangenstein And Scott Deveau, BostonGlobe.com, 28 June 2022 Covid vaccines target the original strain of SARS-2 that first started sickening people in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Helen Branswell, STAT, 28 June 2022 Moscow’s attack has refocused attention on its original mission: the danger next door. WSJ, 28 June 2022 After that, Josh Strickland — who played the original Tarzan in the Broadway production of Disney’s Tarzan — will play the role of Joseph. The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 June 2022 Belly, who is an Asian American character in the show, is White in the original novel. CBS News, 27 June 2022 Use finish restorers, ideal for treating minor scratches across a wide area of the floor. Give your floors a new coat of finish to match the original as closely as possible. Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Threats and intense drama await in the season finale of Mayans M.C., where EZ is tying up loose ends, and Alvarez is trying to make peace with a Redwood original. Ew Staff, EW.com, 14 June 2022 The version at Rainbow Kitchen — where owner Bill Chiang and chef Yung Tse, who both grew up in Hong Kong, are quick to cite the luxe inspiration — rivals the original. Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 The Jurassic Park franchise has been one of the most popular brands in Hollywood since the 1993 original, notching roughly $5 billion at the global box office. Frank Pallotta, CNN, 8 June 2022 Many duplicates of Blue Curaçao exist, since the name could not be trademarked, but the original comes in a distinctive round, rough bottle. Ali Wunderman, Forbes, 8 June 2022 Harrison has since made several copies of the photograph, one of which is hanging in her home, and returned the original to a safe spot. Caroline Silva, ajc, 7 June 2022 The film’s dark side reflects some of the book’s outlandish cruelty, but in many other ways Disney transformed the original. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 The film reunites Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, who all starred in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 6 June 2022 There hasn’t been an Americas summit on U.S. soil since the original was held in Miami in 1994. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 5 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of original


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Learn More About original

Time Traveler for original

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near original



original bid

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for original

Last Updated

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Original.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/original. Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for original


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

More from Merriam-Webster on original

Nglish: Translation of original for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of original for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!