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

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 formsin·vent·i·ble, in·vent·a·ble, adjectiveout·in·vent, verb (used with object)pre·in·vent, verb (used with object)self-in·vent·ed, adjectiveun·in·vent·ed, adjectivewell-in·vent·ed, adjective

Synonyms for invent

1. devise, contrive. See discover. 2. imagine, conceive. 3. concoct. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for invent

Contemporary Examples of invent

Historical Examples of invent

  • 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 Formsinventible or inventable, adjective

Word Origin for invent

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

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