Definition of Invention
(noun) The creation of a product or introduction of a process for the first time; something new.
- American English – /in-vEn-shuhn/
- British English – /in-vEn-shuhn/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ɪnˈvɛnʃən/
- British English – /ɪnˈvɛnʃən/
- Plural: inventions
- Invention and innovation are often used interchangeably, however they are different concepts. An invention is always something new, an innovation improves or uses something in a new way.
- An invention is unprecedented and novel, an innovations adds value to existing goods or services,
- An invention creates or discovers, an innovation transforms or updates,
- Inventions can have unintended consequences, requiring changes to laws. For example, after the invention of the telephone, wiretapping law had to be created. A United State’s Supreme Court case in 1928 ruled it was not illegal, as there was no physical intrusion (see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438) and thus was not an “unseasonable searches and seizures” which is protected in the Constitution under the 4th amendment.
- An (noun) inventor (verb) invents inventions that are (adjective) inventive.
- “Today scholars are beginning to realize that ‘race‘ is nothing more and nothing less than a social invention. It has nothing to do with the intrinsic, or potential, qualities of the physically differing populations, but much to do with the allocation of power, privilege, and wealth among them” (Smedley 1998:698–99).
- Word origin of “invention” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Ogburn, William F. 1922. Social Change with Respect to Culture and Human Nature. New York: Viking Press.
- White, Leslie Alvin. 1949. The Science of Culture: A Study of Man and Civilization. New York: Grove.
Smedley, Audrey. 1998. “‘Race’ and the Construction of Human Identity.” American Anthropologist 100(3):690–702.
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Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “invention.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved April 4, 2020 (https://sociologydictionary.org/invention/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
invention. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/invention/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “invention.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://sociologydictionary.org/invention/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“invention.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2020. <https://sociologydictionary.org/invention/>.