noun \ˈr-gən\

: a part of the body (such as the heart or liver) that has a particular function

—used as a polite way of saying penis

: a musical instrument that has a keyboard and pipes of different lengths and that makes sound by pushing air through the pipes

Full Definition of ORGAN

a archaic :  any of various musical instruments; especially :  wind instrument
b (1) :  a keyboard instrument in which sets of pipes are sounded by compressed air and produce a variety of timbres —called also pipe organ
(2) :  reed organ (3) :  an electronic keyboard instrument that approximates the sounds and resources of the pipe organ (4) :  any of various similar cruder instruments
a :  a differentiated structure (as a heart, kidney, leaf, or stem) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism
b :  bodily parts performing a function or cooperating in an activity <the eyes and related structures that make up the visual organs>
:  a subordinate group or organization that performs specialized functions <the various organs of government>

Examples of ORGAN

  1. the legislative organ of our government
  2. <that newspaper is intended as an organ for the whole university community>

Origin of ORGAN

Middle English, partly from Old English organa, from Latin organum, from Greek organon, literally, tool, instrument; partly from Anglo-French organe, from Latin organum; akin to Greek ergon work — more at work
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue

Rhymes with ORGAN


noun \ˈr-gən\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of ORGAN

: a differentiated structure (as a heart or kidney) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

The Bruckner Organ, 18th century; in the church of the Abbey of Sankt Florian, Austria—Toni Schneiders

Keyboard instrument in which pressurized air produces notes by means of a series of tuned pipes. The simplest organs consist of a single rank of pipes, each corresponding to a single key. They are arranged over a wind chest connected to the keys by a set of valves and fed with a supply of air by electrically or mechanically activated bellows. By pulling out knobs, called stops, the player engages new ranks of pipes. Two distinct types of pipes are used: flue pipes (both open and stopped) produce sound by directing air against the edge of an opening in the pipe, whereas reed pipes sound by means of a thin metal tongue inside the pipe that vibrates against a fixed projection next to it. A large organ may have five or more banked keyboards, or manuals, each of which controls a distinctive group of pipes. Most organs also have pedalboards played with the feet. A large organ's pipes may vary in length from about 1 in. to 32 ft (2.5 cm to 10 m), resulting in a huge nine-octave range. The earliest organ (c. 250 BC) was the Greek hydraulis, in which the wind was regulated by water pressure. The bellows-fed organ appeared about the 7th century AD. The organ became firmly associated with the church by the 10th century. As organs became widespread, different regions pursued different modes of construction and sought different tonal ideals. The Baroque German organ is ideally suited to polyphony, while the French taste for variety of timbres eventuated in Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's vast “orchestral” organs. See also harmonium.


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