I was looking/wanting a word to describe a person who thought and kindled an original idea and was the first to do it. Say you come up with an idea for a device or an idea for software or something what would you call the person who though of it? I thought author but an author is someone who wrote a book not thought of an idea. Anyone able to provide me with a word? Thanks.


7 Answers 7


I think originator may convey the meaning:

  • someone who creates new things

Also a conceiver or a mastermind according to context.

Source: www.thefreedictionary.com

  • I agree, since "inventor" sounds a bit weird with "ideas" - originator is the best choice. Good one.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 8:52
  • 1
    Also, founding father depending on the context.
    – ermanen
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 18:10
  • I think "founding father", and its more generic cousin, "founder", requires both origination and execution. A founder must have founded something. Actually, I imagine this is exactly the distinction at the heart of this question (and I'd counsel the OP to remember that ideas are cheap).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 18:35
  • @DanBron: Yes that is why I didn't give as a separate answer.
    – ermanen
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 18:43
  • I love Mastermind! Thanks! Very catchy term for gamification purpose :) Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 13:46

I think that innovator is close to what you want

A person who develops a new design, product, etc. or who has new ideas about how to do something.

(source: oxforddictionaries.com)

For example:

"He was the innovator behind the revolutionary X software system."


The most obvious answer is probably inventor:

A person who invented a particular process or device or who invents things as an occupation.

(Definition and link from Oxford Dictionaries Online.)


My understanding is that you can only 'discover' something which already exists, like radiation.

For software I would say 'originator' is the best word.

Inventor is usually, though not exclusively, used for a physical object.


A pioneer is the one at the forefront of invention, the first to fully conceive of something new to the point that they also make it real or practical ("do it" as you say).

From Dictionary.com

(noun) one who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress
(verb) to take part in the beginnings of; initiate

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An example of its usage comes from the World Science Festival web site:

Pioneers in Science is an annual program that gives middle and high school students the rare opportunity to interact with world-renowned scientists. In this installment, groundbreaking geneticists and humanitarians Eric Lander and Mary-Claire King met live and online with local New York City high school students and others from around the globe. During the weeks leading up to the event, invited students from various schools immersed themselves in the work of these pioneering scientists. In partnership with the Global Nomads Group, the program offered students the unique opportunity to learn about the lives and follow in the footsteps of trailblazing scientists.

From this quote, you also see the word trailblazer, which is also appropriate for your request. From Merriam-Webster, the first definition is:

a person who makes, does, or discovers something new and makes it acceptable or popular


Note that for this confusing concept, sometimes "discoverer" is used.

So, what would you say about Einstein and relativity? he invented it, discovered it, originated it.


How about 'creator'? As in; Mr Zuckerburg was/is the creator of Facebook, or, Frankenstein created a monster.

  • Yes, but Zuckerberg didn't create Facebook all by himself. Sure, he created the first version, but nowadays that's not the case. Surely there's a better word that means "I came up with this idea and created it, but I don't necessarily solely maintain it"
    – mpen
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 3:11

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