Preceding all others in time; first. Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual: an original play, not an adaptation. Showing a marked departure from previous practice; new: a truly original approach. See Synonyms at new. Productive of new things or new ideas; inventive: an original mind. Being the source from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made. A first form from which other forms are made or developed: Later models of the car retained many features of the original. An authentic work of art: bought an original, not a print. Work that has been composed firsthand: kept the original but sent a photocopy to his publisher. A person who is appealingly odd or curious; a character. Archaic The source from which something arises; an originator.