According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the noun definition of a novel is “an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events“.
The origins of the word stem from the 16th century Italian word, “novella storia”, which means “new story“. The word “novella” is a feminine form of “novello”, which stems from the Latin word “novellus” (the adjective form) which comes from “novus” (the noun form) which means “new“. The adjective form is also found in Old French (novellus–>novel).
Other words associated with novel (n.) are: novels (plural equivalent to singular noun form), novel (the adjective singular form), novelistic (an adjective form), and novelistically (another adjective form from novelistic).
A word similar to novel is novella; however the difference is that a novella is shorter. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a novella is “a story with a compact and pointed plot” as well as “a work of fiction intermediate in length and complexity between a short story and a novel”. In short, a novella is shorter in length and plot wise than a novel.
Basically, a novel is a narrative that reflects a piece of the human experience and imagination in the form of text that is bound together to form a story that one can read. Typically novels are long (not to be confused with novella).