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The word innovate and its family (innovation, innovated, innovates, innovating, innovations, innovative, innovator, innovators) are included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

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Definition of the verb innovate

What does innovate mean as a doing word?

verb - inflections: innovated | innovating | innovates

  1. bring something new to an environment
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme]Zellig Harris established Penn's linguistics department

      Aspectual Verbs (with the same syntax): constitute, machinate, pioneer, stage.

    • lexical domain: Creation - verbs of sewing, baking, painting, performing
    • synonym of innovate: introduce
    • more generic words: initiate / pioneer = take the lead or initiative in
    • more specific terms:

Alternative definition of the verb innovate


  1. [obsolete, transitive] To alter, to change into something new.
  2. [intransitive] To introduce something new to a particular environment; to do something new.

Definition of the verb innovate for high school students

    to do something in an unprecedented way
    • example: Because of the stiff competition, the company knew it needed to pour a lot of energy into innovating new and better products.

The verb innovate is considered to be a word that all college-aspiring students should know and understand, so it frequently appears on the SAT, ACT and other college admissions tests.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for innovate

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewTaming the Search-and-Switch Customer (2009)

Earning Customer Loyalty in a Compulsion-to-Compare World by Jill Griffin

A firm's ability to innovate is a fragile corporate competency that requires constant nurturing. Even if innovation excellence does manifest for a time, without proper care, the competency fades. Apple's Steve Jobs describes the predictable ...

Google previewThe First Mile (2014)

A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market by Scott D. Anthony

For example, one thing that sometimes makes companies hesitant to innovate is the risk that a cherished brand will ...

Google previewProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, knowledge Management and Organisational Learning (2013)

ICICKM 2013 by Dr Annie Green

The ability or capacity to innovate is a determinant factor for survival and success in a free market economy. This research views innovative capacity as a subset of intellectual capital, referred to as innovation related intellectual capital. It draws ...

Google previewIntellectual Property Law and Innovation (2007)

by William van Caenegem

Nonetheless, to innovate is a natural ambition, and non-legal strategies allow innovators to ...

Google previewThe New Management of Engineering (2005)

by Patrick O'Connor

Our capability to innovate means that we can create wholly new artifacts, or adapt existing ones, at will and in very short times. We can create both revolutionary and evolutionary change, with the objective of creating products perfectly adapted ...

Google previewLeadership for Innovation (2009)

How to Organize Team Creativity and Harvest Ideas by John Adair

Sir Barnes Wallis To innovate means to introduce or bring in something new. The word itself comes from the Latin novus, new, which appears in other English words such as novice, renovation and novelty. Innovation is a form of change.

Google previewFrom Idea to Innovation (2014)

A Handbook for Inventors, Decision Makers and Organizations by Bernd X. Weis

The ability to innovate is a fundamental property an enterprise needs to achieve sustainable success. This book examines innovation holistically, taking into account the variety of aspects and the corresponding interactions, which determine ...

Google previewTop STEM Careers in Technology (2014)

by Laura La Bella

For example, Educate to Innovate is a ten-year campaign designed to increase science and math achievement. The campaign involves a partnership among major companies, universities, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government ...

Google previewPlough, Sword, and Book (1992)

The Structure of Human History by Ernest Gellner

The need to innovate means that Industria is marked not merely by a complex division of labour, but also by a perpetually changing occupational structure. Some measure of coercion and legitimation is inherent in human societies.

Google previewInnovation in Commoditized Service Industries (2009)

An Empirical Case Study Analysis in the Passenger Airline Industry by Maximilian Rothkopf

In line with the explorative and theory-enhancing research approach, brief result statements and a set of propositions were derived, which suggest that the ability to innovate is a key success factor in service industries, and that the soft factors, ...

Google previewThe Innovation Wave (2005)

Meeting the Corporate Challenge by Bettina von Stamm

Realising the urgency to innovate is an essential first step, but in itself will not change anything. In order to change and become more innovative, people need a clear sense of where they are going. That is why a company's vision and strategy ...

Google previewInnovation Policy and the Economy (2006)

by Adam B. Jaffe, Josh Lerner, Scott Stern

The incentive to innovate is the difference in profit that a firm can earn if it invests in research and development compared to what it would earn if it did not invest. The concept is straightforward, yet differences in market structure, the ...

Google previewManagement Crisis and Business Revolution

by John Harte

To innovate means to introduce something new. And it is innovation that is the answer to those earlier questions arising out of market saturation. Innovation is introducing something new ...

Google previewThe law lexicon; or dictionary of jurisprudence, etc (1867)


innovate. upon. or. supersede it, for it is the soul and spirit of our national jurisprudence, the repressor of tyranny, the safeguard of the poor, the buckler of innocence, and the vindicator of our rights, our liberties, opinions, and political principles ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Sustainable Technologies (2017)

by Martin Abraham

Innovate new technologies to conserve and improve natural ecosystems while protecting human health and well-being.

Google previewAn American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. The Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as Far as They Have Been Ascertained. II. The Genuine Orthography and Pronunication of Words, According to General Usage, Or to Just Principles of Analogy. III. Accurate and Discriminating Definitions, with Numerous Authorities and Illustrations. To which are Prefixed an Introductory Dissertation on the Origin, History and Connection of the Languages of Western Asia and of Europe, and a Concise Grammar of the English Language (1828)

by Noah Webster

INNOVATE, v. t. [ Fr. innover; ...

Google previewA Dictionary of the English Language (1876)

by Samuel Johnson

Innovate. v. a. [Lat 00an = new.] 1.

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for innovate

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Usage statistics about innovate

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb innovate:


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Video language resources about innovate

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Quotes about innovate

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations. (Steve Jobs)
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Scrabble value of I1N1N1O1V4A1T1E1

The value of this 8-letter word is 11 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of INNOVATE

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