1 [nov-uhl]
a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.
(formerly) novella ( def 1 ).

1560–70; < Italian novella (storia) new kind of story. See novel2

novellike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
novel1 (ˈnɒvəl)
1.  an extended work in prose, either fictitious or partly so, dealing with character, action, thought, etc, esp in the form of a story
2.  the novel the literary genre represented by novels
3.  obsolete (usually plural) a short story or novella, as one of those in the Decameron of Boccaccio
[C15: from Old French novelle, from Latin novella (narrātiō) new (story); see novel²]

novel2 (ˈnɒvəl)
of a kind not seen before; fresh; new; original: a novel suggestion
[C15: from Latin novellus new, diminutive of novus new]

novel3 (ˈnɒvəl)
Roman law See also Novels a new decree or an amendment to an existing statute

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"new, strange, unusual," c.1420, but little used before 1600, from M.Fr. novel "new, fresh, recent" (Fr. nouveau, fem. nouvelle), from O.Fr., from L. novellus "new, young, recent," dim. of novus "new" (see new).

"fictitious narrative," 1566, from It. novella "short story," originally "new story," from L. novella "new things" (cf. M.Fr. novelle, Fr. nouvelle), neut. pl. or fem. of novellus (see novel (adj.)). Originally "one of the tales or short stories in a collection" (esp. Boccaccio),
later (1643) "long work of fiction," works which had before that been called romances.
"A novel is like a violin bow; the box which gives off the sounds is the soul of the reader." [Stendhal, "Life of Henri Brulard"]
Novelist "writer of novels" is 1728, infl. by It. novellista.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

novel definition

A long, fictional narration in prose. Great Expectations and Huckleberry Finn are novels, as are War and Peace and Lord of the Flies.

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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