1. Preceding all others in time; first: Who played the original Dracula?
a. Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual: an original play, not an adaptation.
b. Showing a marked departure from previous practice; new: a truly original approach. See Synonyms at new.
3. Productive of new things or new ideas; inventive: an original mind.
4. Being the source from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made.
1. A first form or model from which others are made or developed: Later versions of the car retained key features of the original.
a. An authentic work of art: bought an original, not a print.
b. A work that has been composed firsthand or used to make a copy, reproduction, or translation: kept the original but sent a photocopy to his publisher.
a. A person with a creative or unusual personality.
b. A person who is appealingly odd or curious; a character.
4. Archaic The source from which something arises; an originator.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin orīginālis, from orīgō, orīgin-, source; see ORIGIN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.