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Borrowed from Latin novum.


novum (plural novums or nova)

  1. A new feature.
    • 1959, Erik Zürcher, The Buddhist conquest of China, volume 1‎, page 266:
      we find among the cultured devotees a tendency to idealize a foreign civilisation — a novum in Chinese history.
  2. (obsolete) A game of dice, properly called novem quinque, the two principal throws being nine and five.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, Act V, Scene II, 540–541
      Abate throw at novum, and the whole world again
      Cannot pick out five such, take each one in his vein.


For usage examples of this term, see Citations:novum.

  • 2006, Adam Roberts, Science Fiction, pages 6-7:
    It seems that this ‘point of difference’, the thing or things that differentiate the world portrayed in science fiction from the world we recognise around us, is the crucial separator between SF and other forms of imaginative or fantastic literature. The critic Darko Suvin has usefully coined the term ‘novum’, the Latin for ‘new’ or ‘new thing’, to refer to this ‘point of difference’ (the plural is ‘nova’). An SF text may be based on one novum, such as [...]. More usually it will be predicated on a number of interrelated nova, such as [...]. This ‘novum’ must not be supernatural but need not necessarily be a piece of technology.




  1. neuter nominative singular of novus
  2. masculine accusative singular of novus
  3. neuter accusative singular of novus
  4. neuter vocative singular of novus



  • du Cange, Charles (1883), “novum”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre