Definition of original in English:


Syllabification: o·rig·i·nal
Pronunciation: /əˈrijənl


  • 2Created directly and personally by a particular artist; not a copy or imitation: original Rembrandts playing original material
    More example sentences
    • The multimedia production also included an original score by artist-musician Rodney Graham and rock duo Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.
    • He gave me about 20 minutes to respond to an emailed copy of the original article.
    • Fortunately his family made some copies of the original manuscript and so we can see now what he really wrote.
    first, earliest; primary; untouched, unedited, uncutauthentic, genuine, actual, true, bona fide
    informal kosher


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  • 1Something serving as a model or basis for imitations or copies: the portrait may be a copy of the original one set of originals and four photocopies
    More example sentences
    • This allowed pirates for the first time to reproduce what was for all intents and purposes an exact copy of an original.
    • You are required to carry the vehicle registration document; take a copy and leave the original at home.
    • He agreed to copy the documents inside, then burn the original papers he had received, which were also copies, not originals.
  • 1.1 (the original) The form or language in which something was first produced or created: the study of Russian texts in the original
    More example sentences
    • In Norway not a lot of poetry in English gets translated, so they read in the original.
    • This would offer the student the full iconic content of the original as well as the French text.
    • Cathal writes in Irish but read the translations in English as well as the original in Irish.
    archetype, prototype, source, master
  • 1.2 (the original of) A person or place on which a character or location in a literary work is based: the paper where the original of the play’s Walter Burns worked
    More example sentences
    • Smith later acknowledged that ‘In Villette my mother was the original of Mrs Bretton, several of her expressions are given verbatim’.
    • Elizabeth Gaskell was brought up by her aunt in Knutsford, Cheshire (the original of ‘Cranford’ and of ‘Hollingford’ in Wives and Daughters).
    • Lots of women claimed to have been the original of Holly Golightly.
  • 1.3A book or recording that has not been previously made available in a different form: paperback originals
    More example sentences
    • These books are not originals, so there are no rights issues to deal with, and even if they are sold at a 90% discount there's still room for profit.
    • Miss Smith has had a novel published as a paperback original.
    • As far as ‘pornography’ was concerned, the most obvious targets were the publishers of the paperback originals who had come into being since the end of the war.
  • 1.4A garment made to order from a design specially prepared for a fashion collection.
    More example sentences
    • The exhibit also displayed many other of Coco Chanel's signature originals such as these Chanel tweed suits and various gowns and jewelry.
    • His latest fashions are often originals from English designer Vivienne Westwood.
    • Alongside a few hand-chosen vintage pieces, her own designs are an eclectic mix of recycled items and originals.


Middle English (the earliest use being in the phrase original sin): from Old French, or from Latin originalis, from origin- (see origin).

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