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noun or·i·gin \ˈȯr-ə-jən, ˈär-\

Simple Definition of origin

  • : the point or place where something begins or is created : the source or cause of something

  • : the place, social situation, or type of family that a person comes from

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of origin

  1. 1 :  ancestry, parentage

  2. 2 a :  rise, beginning, or derivation from a source b :  the point at which something begins or rises or from which it derives <the origin of the custom>; also :  something that creates, causes, or gives rise to another <a spring is the origin of the brook>

  3. 3 :  the more fixed, central, or larger attachment of a muscle

  4. 4 :  the intersection of coordinate axes

Examples of origin in a sentence

  1. Her ethnic origins are French.

  2. <the origins of human language remain a matter of considerable debate>

Origin of origin

Middle English origine, from Latin origin-, origo, from oriri to rise — more at orient

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of origin

origin, source, inception, root mean the point at which something begins its course or existence. origin applies to the things or persons from which something is ultimately derived and often to the causes operating before the thing itself comes into being <an investigation into the origin of baseball>. source applies more often to the point where something springs into being <the source of the Nile> <the source of recurrent trouble>. inception stresses the beginning of something without implying causes <the business has been a success since its inception>. root suggests a first, ultimate, or fundamental source often not easily discerned <the real root of the violence>.

ORIGIN Defined for Kids


noun or·i·gin \ˈȯr-ə-jən\

Definition of origin for Students

  1. 1 :  basic source or cause <The origin of their quarrel is not known.>

  2. 2 :  a person's ancestry <They are people of humble origin.>

  3. 3 :  the rise or beginning from a source <The story has its origin in fact.>

  4. 4 :  the point where the reference axes meet in a graph or coordinate plane

Medical Dictionary


noun or·i·gin \ˈȯr-ə-jən, ˈär-\

Medical Definition of origin

  1. 1:  the point at which something begins or rises or from which it derives

  2. 2:  the more fixed, central, or larger attachment of a muscle—compare insertion 1

Seen and Heard

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