noun (1)
gen·​e·​sis | \ ˈje-nə-səs How to pronounce genesis (audio) \
plural geneses\ ˈje-​nə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce geneses (audio) \

Definition of genesis

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the origin or coming into being of something the genesis of a new political movement


noun (2)

Definition of Genesis (Entry 2 of 2)

: the mainly narrative first book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scriptures — see Bible Table

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Did You Know?

The traditional Greek name for the first and best-known book of the Bible is Genesis, meaning "origin". Genesis tells the stories of the creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's ark, the Tower of Babel, Abraham and his sons, and more—the stories that explain how the world and humanity were created, as well as much about how humanity, and especially the descendants of Abraham, relate to the rest of the world. Today we use genesis to refer to the creative beginnings of much smaller things, but never unimportant ones.

Examples of genesis in a Sentence

Noun (1)

a book about the genesis of the civil rights movement was present at the meeting which was later considered the genesis of the new political movement

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This was the genesis of The Everset, a furniture rental company Steinberg is launching today in New York City along with furniture retailer Jonathan Mitrani and designer Megan Hopp. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Furniture rental space gains a new player with launch of The Everset," 30 July 2019 While their genesis was high-minded—the studs are reportedly inspired by details on Roman palazzo doors—the pretty-meets-punk look became so mainstream, entire brands existed just to create downmarket imitations. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "We’ve Gotta Have It: The 17 Items that Defined Fashion in the 2010s," 18 July 2019 The diagnosis: workplace revenge, which occurs more frequently than many realize and may have its genesis in the target’s actions. Anchorage Daily News, "Be proactive when confronted with workplace revenge," 15 July 2019 And like the bloodshed in New Zealand, the violence in this case was not solely broadcast online — its genesis appears to have been rooted there. Washington Post, "A teen popular on Instagram was killed. Now the gruesome photos are spreading across the web.," 15 July 2019 To tell the story of Kuriya @ Cherrity Bar is to unpack its genesis as an offshoot of the best ramen bar in the city. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Kuriya @ Cherrity Bar delivers Japanese ramen with San Antonio charm," 3 July 2019 The pallet recycling industry has grown into a monster business since its genesis in the ‘60s. Lily Jackson |,, "The secret life of a pallet: Exploring a booming Alabama business, its rustic-decor afterlife," 20 June 2019 Historians trace its genesis to the Stonewall uprising in June 1969, when gay people protested police harassment at a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village . NBC News, "Age matters more than sexuality to U.S. presidential voters, poll finds," 10 June 2019 That internal furnace provides Earth's magnetic field and its geography on the whole—everything from foothills to volcanoes to earthquakes owe their genesis to heat at a tectonic level. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "To Understand How the Earth Formed, and How It Might Disappear, NASA Is Drilling on Mars," 21 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'genesis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of genesis

Noun (1)

circa 1604, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for genesis

Noun (1)

Latin, from Greek, from gignesthai to be born — more at kin

Noun (2)


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Statistics for genesis

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for genesis

The first known use of genesis was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for genesis



English Language Learners Definition of genesis

somewhat formal : the beginning of something


gen·​e·​sis | \ ˈjen-ə-səs How to pronounce genesis (audio) \
plural geneses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce geneses (audio) \

Medical Definition of genesis

: the origin or coming into being of something : the process or mode of origin

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Comments on genesis

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


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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