noun (1)
gen·​e·​sis | \ ˈje-nə-səs How to pronounce genesis (audio) \
plural geneses\ ˈje-​nə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce genesis (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 What other tests may uncover the genesis of long COVID? al, "What is long COVID? UAB’s Dr. Michael Saag says some patients suffer for months," 31 Dec. 2020 What other tests may uncover the genesis of long COVID? Meredith Cohn,, "Fatigue, loss of smell, organ damage: A range of symptoms plague many Marylanders long after COVID-19 infection," 30 Dec. 2020 But Benedict’s imagining stands out from the pack, cleverly positing that Agatha’s private tragedy was the genesis of the legendary author’s success. Stefanie Milligan, The Christian Science Monitor, "Agatha, decoded, in “The Mystery of Mrs. Christie”," 22 Dec. 2020 The genesis for the initiative began just a few miles from where Floyd died in May, at an advertising agency named Solve, where employees felt compelled in the aftermath of protests to do some soul-searching. Washington Post, "Ad agency, Morgan State partner for diversity," 20 Dec. 2020 Often overlooked is the genesis of that anti-boredom vow. Los Angeles Times, "What would Baldessari do? A good question for the end of a terrible year," 7 Dec. 2020 The genesis of Citizen Kane has long been a matter of furious debate among cinephiles, a proving ground for arguments about directorial auteurism versus greater collaboration. David Sims, The Atlantic, "David Fincher’s Theory of Moviemaking," 4 Dec. 2020 Emerson is therefore presented as American literature’s genesis — the founder of a national cultural movement to whom every succeeding American author owes something. Nicholas Pompella, National Review, "Harold Bloom: The Essential American Literary Critic," 21 Nov. 2020 Meteorologists and climate researchers say there’s no way to pin a single storm’s genesis or behavior to climate change, so there’s no way to tell if superstorms like Goni and Eta are going to become the new normal. Eric Niiler, Wired, "What Is a Super Typhoon, and Why Are They So Dangerous?," 4 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for genesis

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for genesis

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Genesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for genesis


How to pronounce Genesis (audio)

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 genesis (audio) \

Medical Definition of genesis

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

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