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

  • n. A fictional prose narrative of considerable length, typically having a plot that is unfolded by the actions, speech, and thoughts of the characters.
  • n. The literary genre represented by novels.
  • adj. Strikingly new, unusual, or different. See Synonyms at new.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. new, original, especially in an interesting way

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of recent origin or introduction; not ancient; new; hence, out of the ordinary course; unusual; strange; surprising.
  • n. That which is new or unusual; a novelty.
  • n. News; fresh tidings.
  • n. A fictitious tale or narrative, longer than a short story, having some degree of complexity and development of characters; it is usually organized as a time sequence of events, and is commonly intended to exhibit the operation of the passions, and often of love.
  • n. A new or supplemental constitution. See the Note under Novel, a.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of recent origin or introduction; not old or established; new.
  • Previously unknown; new and striking; unusual; strange: as, a novel contrivance; a novel feature of the entertainment.
  • Young.
  • Synonyms Fresh, Recent, etc. See new.
  • n. Something new; a novelty.
  • n. A piece of news; news; tidings: usually in the plural.
  • n. In civil law, a new or supplemental constitution or decree; one of the novel constitutions of certain Roman emperors, so called because they appeared after the authentic publications of law made by these emperors.
  • n. A fictitious prose narrative or tale, involving some plot of more or less intricacy, and aiming to present a picture of real life in the historical period and society to which the persons, manners, and modes of speech, as well as the scenery and surroundings, are supposed to belong.
  • n. Synonyms Tale, Romance, Novel. Tale was at one time a favorite word for what would now be called a novel, as the tales of Miss Austen, and it is still used for a fiction whose chief interest lies in its events, as Marryat's sea tales. “Works of Action may be divided into romances and novels. … The romance chooses the characters from remote, unfamiliar quarters, gives them a fanciful elevation in power and prowess, surrounds them by novel circumstances, verges on the supernatural or passes its limits, and makes much of fictitious sentiments, such as those which characterized chivalry. The poor sensational novel has points of close union with the earlier romance. … The novel, so far as it adheres to truth, and treats of life broadly, descending to the lowest in grade, deeply and with spiritual forecast, seeing to the bottom, is not only not open to these objections, but rather calls for … commendation.”

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

  • n. an extended fictional work in prose; usually in the form of a story
  • n. a printed and bound book that is an extended work of fiction
  • adj. original and of a kind not seen before
  • adj. pleasantly new or different


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

Ultimately from Italian novella, from Old Italian, piece of news, chit-chat, tale, from Vulgar Latin *novella, from neuter pl. of Latin novellus, diminutive of novus, new; see newo- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin novellus, diminutive of novus; see newo- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French novel ("new, fresh, recent, recently made or done, strange, rare") (modern nouvel), from Latin novellus ("new, fresh, young, modern"), diminutive of novus ("new").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

In various senses from Old French novelle or Italian novella, both from Latin novella, a singular noun use of the neuter plural of novellus, from novus ("new"). Some senses came to English directly from the Latin.


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  • In literature, while the traditional novel continued to thrive, the “new novel” of French writers like Alain Robbe-Grillet (b. 1922) and Natalie Sarraute challenged this form by concentrating on concrete details without plot or character development.

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  • Its preface features a history of the novel and Sade’s theories on the ‘modern novel‘:

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  • a look back at the jfk assassination* roscoe museum displays one-of-a-kind jfk artifacts* dallas marks 45th anniversary of jfk assassination* huckabee to present dan rather talking about jfk assassination* former dallas sheriff jim bowles pens novel about jfk assassination* remembering jfk in dallas* jfk assassination viewed from the periphery in arresting new novel* jfk conspiracies: should we care?

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  • Reading a Robert Heinlein novel is like reading a first draft.

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  • Thirdly, "the Postman", as a David Brin novel, is extraordinary and would I think appeal strongly to lots of people here; if Terry Pratchett wasn't funny but retained all his other gifts and worldview, and was actually a sly bit _more_ subversive, it's something he could write.

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  • Change unconstrained by prudence produces unpredictable consequences, threatening ordered liberty with chaos and ultimately despotism, and placing at risk the very principles the Conservative holds dear.4 Therefore, while Brandeis was right to acknowledge the import of states in experimenting with public policy, his use of the word novel suggests open-ended or unconstrained experimentation.

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  • Paul Ruditis is the author of the Alias novel Vigilance and the official episode guide for the first four seasons of the series: Alias: Authorized Personnel Only.

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  • Because I see Wood primarily as a critic with the ability to define the genre again, the term novel otherwise incorporating so many varied beasts that it has become meaningless.



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  • I need to write a novel rather than short stories for a change.

    March 1, 2012

  • "I can't understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars."

    - Fred Allen

    November 7, 2008

  • 'The person who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid.' -the book Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

    February 18, 2008