Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun re·source \ˈrē-ˌsȯrs, -ˌzȯrs, ri-ˈ\

Simple Definition of resource

  • : something that a country has and can use to increase its wealth

  • : a supply of something (such as money) that someone has and can use when it is needed

  • : a place or thing that provides something useful

Full Definition of resource

  1. 1 a :  a source of supply or support :  an available means —usually used in plural b :  a natural source of wealth or revenue —often used in plural c :  a natural feature or phenomenon that enhances the quality of human life d :  computable wealth —usually used in plural e :  a source of information or expertise

  2. 2 :  something to which one has recourse in difficulty :  expedient

  3. 3 :  a possibility of relief or recovery

  4. 4 :  a means of spending one's leisure time

  5. 5 :  an ability to meet and handle a situation :  resourcefulness

Examples of resource

  1. Oil is essentially their only resource.

  2. The computer laboratory is an essential resource for students.

Origin of resource

French ressource, from Old French ressourse relief, resource, from resourdre to relieve, literally, to rise again, from Latin resurgere — more at resurrection

First Known Use: circa 1611

Synonym Discussion of resource

resource, resort, expedient, shift, makeshift, stopgap mean something one turns to in the absence of the usual means or source of supply. resource and resort apply to anything one falls back upon <exhausted all of their resources> <a last resort>. expedient may apply to any device or contrivance used when the usual one is not at hand or not possible <a flimsy expedient>. shift implies a tentative or temporary imperfect expedient <desperate shifts to stave off foreclosure>. makeshift implies an inferior expedient adopted because of urgent need or allowed through indifference <old equipment employed as a makeshift>. stopgap applies to something used temporarily as an emergency measure <a new law intended only as a stopgap>.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up resource? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds 2.2 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.