Definition of inventory in US English:



  • 1A complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building.

    • ‘The items from free listing give researchers basic inventories of the contents of cultural domains.’
    • ‘In fact, after about 1640, works of art listed in probate inventories increasingly were identified by the name of the artist rather than by subject matter.’
    • ‘Commenting on the trust inherited by Alexander, she claimed that the family had been denied an inventory of its contents.’
    • ‘She suggested to Irving that he might be able to buy the plates, since they were not listed on the archive inventories.’
    • ‘Today examples are frequently referred to as cellarets, but period inventories list them as gin cases, brandy cases, bottle cases, or cases of bottles.’
    • ‘The paintings listed in the inventory would likely have been displayed on specific ritual occasions.’
    • ‘The tidy inventory of his property functioned as a dual hit list and memorial roster when mounted on a large wall at the emporium's entrance.’
    • ‘The National Pollutant Release Inventory is a legislated, nation-wide, publicly-accessible inventory of pollutants released, disposed of and recycled by facilities in Canada.’
    • ‘Intranets tie machines together, network storage provides repositories for data and information, and system inventories and file indexes list available resources.’
    • ‘If you wish, you may stop at any time, save your answers, and return at a later time to complete the inventory.’
    • ‘A great many inventories explicitly list ‘one of ye Queens armes,’ which officially still belonged to the government.’
    • ‘Such pieces are sometimes tantalisingly listed in inventories, but specific descriptive information about their precise shape, size, decoration, and origins is rarely provided.’
    • ‘As part of the architectural conservation area, a full inventory of buildings with the area would be carried out with guidelines prepared as to their proper repair or restoration.’
    • ‘Group members started walking regularly throughout the neighbourhood with notepads, maintaining an up-to-date inventory of abandoned buildings.’
    • ‘The bed and four matching chairs were the most expensive items in the mansion in an inventory of its contents in 1694.’
    • ‘But Cozza also painted landscapes with no history subject, as the various ‘landscapes’ with no theme recorded in the inventory of his property after his death show.’
    • ‘Calgary Heritage Authority has done an inventory of heritage buildings and there are 425 on the list.’
    • ‘About 6 per cent of the slaves listed as sick in inventories of sugar properties suffered from cansaço or exhaustion.’
    • ‘He explained that they were required to make a full inventory of the contents.’
    • ‘Can building equipment inventories be tied to maintenance records?’
    list, listing, catalogue, directory, record, register, checklist, tally, roster, file, log, account, archive, description, statement
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A quantity of goods held in stock.
      ‘in our warehouse you'll find a large inventory of new and used bicycles’
      • ‘As a result, the ratio of inventories to shipments has fallen to levels not seen since the boom year of 1999.’
      • ‘But it was the 2.8% drop in retailers' inventories, reflecting a steep decline in autos, that told the story.’
      • ‘By 1683, the committee was able to reconcile shipments, with inventories and trade, and asked why certain quantities were being requested.’
      • ‘The loss of double-digit stock gains slowed consumer spending from its boom times of the late 1990s, leading to excess inventories and cutbacks in factory output.’
      • ‘A grape glut caused by overplanting in headier times is raising inventories and igniting price wars.’
      • ‘At the same time, we've also observed an increase in both the quality and quantity of the inventory of regional sound rental companies.’
      • ‘Burned in recent years by huge unsold inventories of movie merchandise and fearful of the slowing economy, everyone from toymakers and retailers to moviemakers has cut back.’
      • ‘We carry a huge inventory of brand name brass, bullets, primers, powder and reloading accessories.’
      • ‘So far, the resilience of household spending has cushioned some of the blows from a sharp cutback in capital spending and the largest liquidation of inventories in the postwar period.’
      • ‘Even as retailers and wholesale distributors built up inventories, factory stockpiles so far this year are down at a 4.4% annual rate.’
      • ‘Our major customers cut back on their inventory and projections.’
      • ‘This holiday season, for instance, increased demand and leaner inventories should allow stores to avoid a repeat of last year's rampant discounting.’
      • ‘The combination of strong demand and cautious ordering has left some retailers short of inventories.’
      • ‘With the decline in prices of flat liquid crystal display screens, Sony has been left with a large inventory of unsold CRT monitors.’
      • ‘You control the inventory, you control the way that inventory is merchandised to your customers, you control the way the salespeople are trained.’
      • ‘Nothing sits for long: The booming reseller typically turns its inventory over in less than 20 days.’
      • ‘Wu said that retailers' inventories piled up significantly in June because of slower-than-expected consumer demand.’
      • ‘Interestingly, during the past three months, wholesale inventories have risen twice as fast as nonauto retail stockpiles.’
      • ‘He put the screws to suppliers to lower costs and streamlined supply chains to cut inventories by an average of 30%.’
      • ‘In that environment, limited, just-in-time inventories of critical medical supplies are the exact opposite of what we would need.’
    2. 1.2 (in accounting) the entire stock of a business, including materials, components, work in progress, and finished products.
      • ‘Those refrigerator retailers who stay in business manage their inventories very differently.’
      • ‘If this is the case, then this is likely to result in the accumulation of unwanted inventories.’
      • ‘And businesses drew down inventories for the second quarter in a row, setting the stage for a factory recovery.’
      • ‘The commerce department said business inventories were falling, spurring hopes that purchasing may soon pick up.’
      • ‘Striving for sales growth often means major upfront investments in assets, including accounts receivables, inventories, production equipment and facilities.’
      • ‘Businesses increased inventories by an annualized $12.8 billion, but this was down from an increase of $25.8 billion in the fourth quarter.’
      • ‘For the fourth quarter, though, autos will lead yet another huge liquidation in overall business inventories.’
      • ‘As businesses liquidated inventories, they decreased their indebtedness to banks and acquired government debt.’
      • ‘Based on the revised data for third-quarter gross domestic product, businesses liquidated inventories last quarter at the fastest rate in any quarter since World War II.’
      • ‘The performance of business investment and inventories determines the sustainability of any recovery in the US economy this year.’
      • ‘It's dangerous to build up assets right now - inventories, receivables.’
      • ‘We are at the stage right now where businesses must reduce high inventories at falling prices, while speculators make a killing in bonds.’
      • ‘This reconciliation covers both what we call produced assets, which are fixed assets, and inventories.’
      • ‘In May, the ratio of all business inventories to sales, a measure of the adequacy of stock levels, remained at a record low of 1.3, which is far below its long-term trend.’
      • ‘If one doesn't control inventories in this business, it will lead to huge losses.’
      • ‘The company had all sorts of violations of paperwork requirements and couldn't control their inventory.’
      • ‘These kinds of loans are typically used to finance inventories and other short-term business operations.’
      • ‘As companies have cut production to get stock back in line, business inventories have fallen steadily since January.’
      • ‘Thus the market-maker in securities can finance its inventory, and the fund manager can also raise short-term moneys, without disturbing its underlying, portfolio.’
      • ‘The second-quarter boost to the nearly $11.7 trillion economy came from expanded business inventories and investments, an increase in exports and a drop in imports.’


[with object]
  • 1Make a complete list of.

    • ‘It seemed that this person might have been chasing particularly items, but since the whole collection wasn't inventoried, it was really impossible to say.’
    • ‘All of these things can be studied by quantifying relative diversity levels, instead of waiting for centuries to inventory every species that ever was fossilized.’
    • ‘‘During the renovation, we inventoried the museum's collections and found we have a great collection of period pieces from the Sino-French War,’ said museum curator Hsu Shui-sien.’
    • ‘A former undergraduate pharmaceutical major, John was in charge of inventorying our medical supplies.’
    • ‘Through the National Inventory, operated by Duchas, the state is fulfilling its obligation to inventory all of Ireland's architectural heritage.’
    • ‘Once you have a theme in mind, take a moment to inventory the decorative objects you already have around your house, then hit secondhand stores to complete the look you've chosen.’
    • ‘He shouted to Rock who was inventorying the remaining ammunition.’
    • ‘Safety was briefed and stressed from the very beginning as the number one priority when transporting, unpacking, and inventorying pallets.’
    • ‘I have been tasked with inventorying my company's intellectual property.’
    • ‘Approximately 214 miles of the Illinois River and 272 miles of the central Mississippi River are aerially inventoried for waterfowl weekly from September through late December.’
    • ‘Countries should collaborate in surveying and inventorying activities in order to build incountry capacity.’
    • ‘In 2001, the city inventoried its street trees, completing the plan's first phase.’
    • ‘A disinterested party on orders from the commander must inventory the narcotics monthly.’
    • ‘Shyra and Gaiden were still in the carriage inventorying the supplies.’
    • ‘Our team was supposed to inventory the animal and plant life in the park, paying particular attention to whether any rare or endangered species might be in residence.’
    • ‘The subcommittee is inventorying members' expertise and asking government psychologists how agencies could put that expertise to use.’
    • ‘In addition to inventorying ammunition, the members of the 826th also made sure the shells were properly packaged and marked for shipment.’
    • ‘Al looked eagerly over her shoulder, inventorying the hoard.’
    • ‘Dora was inventorying her jewelry when the phone rang.’
    • ‘Soon the researchers will be cranking out large numbers of diagnostic probes to inventory microbes in manure samples from different environments.’
    1. 1.1 Enter in a list.
      ‘about forty possible sites were inventoried’
      • ‘Teams of young photographers and recorders inventoried over 200,000 older buildings.’
      • ‘Of the thousands of sherds from several dozen features inventoried in the NYU catalog sheets, only five pairs from four features were located that met both criteria and were therefore considered suitable for dating.’
      • ‘Many times on high profile trauma cases, police detectives would inventory the evidence with a nurse to ensure chain of evidence was intact.’
      • ‘I still remember securing, cataloging, and inventorying every single item in his house, including his dirty laundry.’
      • ‘But the rags, the refuse - these I will not inventory but allow, in the only way possible, to come into their own: by making use of them.’
      • ‘The Iraq Cultural Heritage Initiative provides equipment, technology and methodologies for assessing and inventorying cultural sites.’
      • ‘The Global Observations of Forest Cover is an international effort to inventory worldwide forest cover and to measure its change over time.’
      • ‘In 2002 and 2003, Troy Weldy and Jim Ash inventoried all of the historical A. bulbosa sites in the vicinity of Montauk and found no flowering individuals.’
      • ‘Other differences are inventoried in this book review.’
      • ‘For liability reasons, Tucker suggests that tower owners employ a third party to inventory the site to show areas of danger concerning the site hazards.’
      • ‘It is possible that not all the structures and items inventoried in 883 existed in 869, when Kanshinji was granted state support as a jogakuji.’
      • ‘The third and final book inventoried as in the kunstcaemer was Albrecht Durer's book on human proportions, published first in 1528 and in Dutch in 1622.’
      list, catalogue, record, register, make a list of, file, log, tally
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin inventorium, alteration of late Latin inventarium, literally ‘a list of what is found’, from Latin invenire ‘come upon’.