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[in-vuh n-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈɪn vənˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
noun, plural inventories.
a complete listing of merchandise or stock on hand, work in progress, raw materials, finished goods on hand, etc., made each year by a business concern.
the objects or items represented on such a list, as a merchant's stock of goods.
the aggregate value of a stock of goods.
raw material from the time of its receipt at an industrial plant for manufacturing purposes to the time it is sold.
a detailed, often descriptive, list of articles, giving the code number, quantity, and value of each; catalog.
a formal list of movables, as of a merchant's stock of goods.
a formal list of the property of a person or estate.
a tally of one's personality traits, aptitudes, skills, etc., for use in counseling and guidance.
a catalog of natural resources, especially a count or estimate of wildlife and game in a particular area.
the act of making a catalog or detailed listing.
verb (used with object), inventoried, inventorying.
to make an inventory of; enter in an inventory; catalog.
to take stock of; evaluate:
to inventory one's life and accomplishments.
to summarize:
to inventory the progress in chemistry.
to keep an available supply of (merchandise); stock.
verb (used without object), inventoried, inventorying.
to have value as shown by an inventory:
stock that inventories at two million dollars.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English inventorie < Medieval Latin inventōrium; see invent, -tory2
Related forms
inventoriable, adjective
inventorial, adjective
inventorially, adverb
overinventoried, adjective
preinventory, noun, plural preinventories.
5. roster, record, register, account. See list1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inventories
  • When oil inventories around the world are high, prices are low.
  • Species inventories in areas of great biodiversity can take years and never be complete.
  • Have students present inventories, share findings, and describe research challenges they may have faced during the activity.
  • The team examined floral inventories as well to see if this might explain the pattern in pollinators.
  • Companies rely on bar-code data to keep their shelves stocked and their inventories lean.
  • Maintain inventories, compile statistics and generate reports as required.
  • They can give you interest inventories, tests that help you understand what your career needs are.
  • Growth in hog inventories are expected to be constrained by higher feed costs.
  • They've compiled elaborate inventories of junk mail content used to block specific messages.
  • Unfortunately, these findings don't match results from inventories of matter in the universe.
British Dictionary definitions for inventories


/ˈɪnvəntərɪ; -trɪ/
a detailed list of articles, goods, property, etc
(often pl) (accounting, mainly US)
  1. the amount or value of a firm's current assets that consist of raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods; stock
  2. such assets individually
verb -tories, -torying, -toried
(transitive) to enter (items) in an inventory; make a list of
Derived Forms
inventoriable, adjective
inventorial, adjective
inventorially, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin inventōrium; see invent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inventories



early 15c., from Old French inventoire "inventory, detailed list of goods, catalogue," from Medieval Latin inventorium (Late Latin inventarium) "list of what is found," from Latin inventus, past participle of invenire "to find" (see invention). The verb is first recorded c.1600, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inventories in Culture

inventory definition

An itemized list of a firm's goods that have not yet been sold.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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