from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Preceding all others in time; first.
  • adjective Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual.
  • adjective Showing a marked departure from previous practice; new: synonym: new.
  • adjective Productive of new things or new ideas; inventive.
  • adjective Being the source from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made.
  • noun A first form or model from which others are made or developed.
  • noun An authentic work of art.
  • noun A work that has been composed firsthand or used to make a copy, reproduction, or translation.
  • noun A person with a creative or unusual personality.
  • noun A person who is appealingly odd or curious; a character.
  • noun Archaic The source from which something arises; an originator.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun Origin; source; starting-point; first issue; beginning.
  • noun Hence Parentage; ancestry; pedigree; descent; derivation; extraction; birth.
  • noun That from which anything is derived; source of being or existence; cause; occasion.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Earliest condition; primal or primitive state; pristine condition, resources, etc.
  • noun First form; archetype; that which is copied, imitated, transcribed, or translated.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Pertaining to the origin or beginning; preceding all others; first in order; primitive; primary; pristine
  • adjective Not copied, imitated, or translated; new; fresh; genuine
  • adjective Having the power to suggest new thoughts or combinations of thought; inventive.
  • adjective Before unused or unknown; new.
  • adjective (Theol.) the first sin of Adam, as related to its consequences to his descendants of the human race; -- called also total depravity. See Calvinism.
  • noun Origin; commencement; source.
  • noun 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.
  • noun rare An original thinker or writer; an originator.
  • noun colloq. A person of marked eccentricity.
  • noun (Zoöl. & Bot.) The natural or wild species from which a domesticated or cultivated variety has been derived.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective not comparable First in a series or copies/versions
  • adjective not comparable Newly created
  • adjective comparable Fresh, different
  • adjective not comparable Pioneering
  • adjective not comparable Having as its origin
  • noun An object or other creation (e.g. narrative work) from which all later copies and variations are derived
  • noun A person with a unique and interesting personality and/or creative talent
  • noun archaic An eccentric

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

  • adjective (of e.g. information) not secondhand or by way of something intermediary


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin orīginālis, from orīgō, orīgin-, source; see origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English original, from Old French original, from Late Latin originalis ("primitive, original"), from Latin origo ("beginning, source, origin"); see origin.


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  • _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 Samuel Kirkham

  • 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 Amy Brooks

  • ” 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 Richard Francis Burton 1855

  • 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 1644

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

    Hasid Trip 2008

  • 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 2011

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

    Spiritual Garden 2009

  • 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 2010

  • 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 2010

  • "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 2010


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  • a fresh frot from the gardin

    February 15, 2007

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

    May 15, 2008