Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Preceding all others in time; first.
  • adj. Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual: an original play, not an adaptation.
  • adj. Showing a marked departure from previous practice; new: a truly original approach. See Synonyms at new.
  • adj. Productive of new things or new ideas; inventive: an original mind.
  • adj. Being the source from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made.
  • n. A first form from which other forms are made or developed: Later models of the car retained many features of the original.
  • n. An authentic work of art: bought an original, not a print.
  • n. Work that has been composed firsthand: kept the original but sent a photocopy to his publisher.
  • n. A person who is appealingly odd or curious; a character.
  • n. Archaic The source from which something arises; an originator.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. First in a series or copies/versions
  • adj. Newly created
  • adj. Fresh, different
  • adj. Pioneering
  • adj. Having as its origin
  • n. An object or other creation (e.g. narrative work) from which all later copies and variations are derived
  • n. A person with a unique and interesting personality and/or creative talent
  • n. An eccentric

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to the origin or beginning; preceding all others; first in order; primitive; primary; pristine
  • adj. Not copied, imitated, or translated; new; fresh; genuine
  • adj. Having the power to suggest new thoughts or combinations of thought; inventive.
  • adj. Before unused or unknown; new.
  • n. Origin; commencement; source.
  • n. That which precedes all others of its class; archetype; first copy; hence, an original work of art, manuscript, text, and the like, as distinguished from a copy, translation, etc.
  • n. An original thinker or writer; an originator.
  • n. A person of marked eccentricity.
  • n. The natural or wild species from which a domesticated or cultivated variety has been derived.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to the origin or beginning; initial; primal; first in order; preceding all others: as, the original state in which man was created; the original edition of a book.
  • Pertaining to or characteristic of the first or earliest stage or state of anything; first or earlier as opposed to later; primeval; primitive; pristine.
  • Having the power to initiate or suggest new thoughts or combinations of thought; creative, as author, artist, philosopher, etc.: as, an original genius.
  • Produced directly by an author, artist, or authority; not copied, imitated, translated, or transcribed: as, the original document; the original Greek text; the original painting.
  • Hence Fresh; novel; new; striking; never before thought of or used: as, an original idea or plan; an original invention.
  • Abbreviated orig.
  • Inventive, creative.
  • n. Origin; source; starting-point; first issue; beginning.
  • n. Hence Parentage; ancestry; pedigree; descent; derivation; extraction; birth.
  • n. That from which anything is derived; source of being or existence; cause; occasion.
  • n. A primary stock or type from which varieties have been developed: as, the dhole of India is supposed to have been the original of the dog.
  • n. Earliest condition; primal or primitive state; pristine condition, resources, etc.
  • n. First form; archetype; that which is copied, imitated, transcribed, or translated.
  • n. A work of art as first produced, and contradistinguished from a replica or duplicate made by the artist himself, and from a copy, mechanical reproduction, or imitation.
  • n. A writing, document, or literary production, as distinguished from a transcription, paraphrase, modernization, or translation; also, the language in which a work was first composed.
  • n. A person who produces a novel and unique impression; a person of marked individuality of character; an eccentric person; an oddity.
  • In geology, noting those constituent minerals of an igneous rock which have crystallized from fusion during the period of consolidation: contrasted with secondary, which describes a mineral produced by alteration or decay.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of e.g. information) not secondhand or by way of something intermediary
  • n. an original creation (i.e., an audio recording) from which copies can be made
  • adj. being or productive of something fresh and unusual; or being as first made or thought of
  • n. something that serves as a model or a basis for making copies
  • adj. preceding all others in time or being as first made or performed
  • adj. not derived or copied or translated from something else

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin orīginālis, from orīgō, orīgin-, source; see origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English original, from Old French original, from Late Latin originalis ("primitive, original"), from Latin origo ("beginning, source, origin"); see origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Her composition was a good example of what a silly child, with an even sillier mother could do, in the way of original work, for surely the essay was _original_.

    Princess Polly's Gay Winter

  • _Nouns_, or the names of the objects of our perceptions, doubtless constituted the original class of words; (if I may be allowed to assume such a hypothesis as an _original_ class of words;) but the ever-active principle of association, soon transformed nouns into verbs, by making them, when employed in a particular manner, expressive of affirmation.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

  • ” Hence that admirable writer postulates some “terrible original calamity”; and thus the hateful doctrine, theologically called “original sin, ” becomes to him almost as certain as that “the world exists, and as the existence of God.

    The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi

  • The Latin original translates as: ‘Mine is a heart that scorns the light, and believes that the glory that you strive for is cheaply bought with life’.

    Letter 33

  • Hollywood, where the term original idea is an oxymoron, is developing at least six movies about ...

    Hasid Trip

  • With modern design, the term "original" can be a bit tricky, especially if the piece in question is still being produced and sold in the current marketplace.

    The Seattle Times

  • The title original for this post was "BLOODY HELL!", but I thought … it's not that nice.

    Spiritual Garden

  • And although the original is a classic in many ways, one thing it definitely lacked was some actually cool martial arts.

    Early Buzz: Peter’s Mixed Thoughts on The Karate Kid | /Film

  • Seems the best way to keep the spirit. jackieboi the original is a classic. can't be topped, at least not with those hacks ... i think ill redbox dear john when this comes out.

    Escape From New York Remake: Now With Less Destruction? | /Film

  • "Notes on Robert Frost," which fill about two thousand pages of typescript; the original is at the University of Virginia, but there's a good copy at Dartmouth, which is where I read them.

    Brian Hall - An interview with author

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Comments

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  • A contranym: it means both old and unchanging ("the original flavor"), and something creative or new ("an original idea").

    May 15, 2008

  • a fresh frot from the gardin

    February 15, 2007