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[in-vent] /ɪnˈvɛnt/
verb (used with object)
to originate or create as a product of one's own ingenuity, experimentation, or contrivance:
to invent the telegraph.
to produce or create with the imagination:
to invent a story.
to make up or fabricate (something fictitious or false):
to invent excuses.
Archaic. to come upon; find.
Origin of invent
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English invented (past participle) found, discovered (see -ed2) < Latin inventus, past participle of invenīre to encounter, come upon, find, equivalent to in- in-2 + ven(īre) to come + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
inventible, inventable, adjective
outinvent, verb (used with object)
preinvent, verb (used with object)
self-invented, adjective
uninvented, adjective
well-invented, adjective
1. devise, contrive. See discover. 2. imagine, conceive. 3. concoct. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for invent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I should be b-a-d, and I should sit up nights to invent new ways of evil.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I will move detachments and advance brigades, and invent strategy.

  • What could she invent, so to be before him in giving her charity?

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • "That's as good a description of him as you could invent," he said.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • A telegraph operator, in their eyes, has no business to invent.

British Dictionary definitions for invent


to create or devise (new ideas, machines, etc)
to make up (falsehoods); fabricate
Derived Forms
inventible, inventable, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin invenīre to find, come upon, from in-² + venīre to come
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for invent

late 15c., "find, discover," a back-formation from invention or else from Latin inventus, past participle of invenire "to come upon; devise, discover" (see invention). Meaning "make up, think up" is from 1530s, as is that of "produce by original thought." Related: Invented; inventing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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