If someone or something is original, it’s unique, first, or new.


  • That’s an original design for a house.
  • Her ideas are original and very inspiring.
  • This song is not very original. I’ve heard something like it before.
  • Modern artists take an original approach to art.
  • The Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago is an original and fascinating piece of public art.

cloudgate Cloud Gate

first / new

  • This house was designed by the original owner.
  • The original settlers in this area arrived over one thousand years ago.
  • This is a copy of the letter. Where’s the original? (This sentence uses "original" as a noun.)
  • The original 13 colonies in the United States became states after independence from England.

The word "originally" is an adverb:

  • What country are you from originally? (This is a common question of people who move to the U.S. from other countries.)
  • This old building was originally a single-family home. Now it’s a museum.
  • Originally, Tad wanted a career in medicine, but he changed his mind and became an architect instead.

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February 15, 2015