Definition of invention in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈvɛnʃ(ə)n/


[mass noun]
1The action of inventing something, typically a process or device: the invention of printing in the 15th century
More example sentences
  • Artistic pursuit can come in many forms such as research, invention, poetry or painting.
  • Very much like the issuance of a patent by the US Patent Office on any crazy notion, implies that the idea, invention, process, actually exists or works?
  • Thomas Edison's first invention was a tabulation device that showed visitors to a state legislature exactly how lawmakers were voting on every bill.
origination, creation, innovation, devising, contriving, contrivance, formulation, development, design;
conception, masterminding, pioneering, introduction;
discovery, finding
1.1 [count noun] Something, typically a process or device, that has been invented: medieval inventions included spectacles for reading and the spinning wheel
More example sentences
  • Utility patents - unlike design or plant patents - are granted for inventions of machines, processes, and products.
  • A shame since it includes the weapons, sabotage devices and other inventions which undoubtedly frustrated the German forces.
  • In the EU, he says, IBM is one of the strongest supporters of the proposed directive on computer implemented inventions, a very controversial piece of legislation.
innovation, origination, creation, design, contraption, contrivance, construction, device, gadget, apparatus, machine;
informal brainchild, gizmo, widget
1.2Creative ability: his powers of invention were rather limited
More example sentences
  • Yet these are still fascinating questions, questions that provoke us and bring forth all kinds of creative thought and invention.
  • Why unrefined, ill-informed, loose oral expressions seem to displace thoroughness, creativity, innovation, invention and skill.
  • Jan's technical ability, artistic invention, and intellect were universally recognized, by writers and artists in Italy as well as the Netherlands.
inventiveness, originality, creativity, creativeness, imagination, imaginativeness, inspiration;
ingenuity, ingeniousness, resourcefulness, initiative, enterprise;
genius, brilliance, vision
1.3 [count noun] Something fabricated or made up: you know my story is an invention
More example sentences
  • When it turned out that the motorcycle story was an invention, they were even less pleased about this fantasy Web site.
  • The legend of Robin Hood, inventions or stories on which intellectual property protections have lapsed, and the Linux operating system are simply not cases of ownership at all.
  • Sure it might be about identity as ‘an invention based on myths and half-truths’, but is also typical of most video art - boring.
fabrication, concoction, fiction, piece of fiction, yarn, story, tale, figment of one's imagination;
lie, untruth, falsehood, fib, trumped-up story;
myth, fantasy
informal tall story, fairy story, fairy tale, cock and bull story, red herring
1.4Used as a title for a short piece of music: Bach’s two-part Inventions
More example sentences
  • At least a few of Bach's two-part inventions are well-known to beginning piano students, general media consumers and, sadly, cell-phone users.
  • Bach wrote a number of 2-part and 3-part Inventions for keyboard.


Middle English (in the sense 'finding out, discovery'): from Latin inventio(n-), from invenire 'discover' (see invent).

  • ‘Finding out, discover’ rather than creating is the base sense of invention, which comes from Latin invenire ‘discover, come upon’ from in-‘into, upon’, and venire ‘come’. Inventory (Late Middle English) ‘a list of what is found’ is from the same source.

Words that rhyme with invention

abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|ven|tion

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