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

Essential Meaning of genesis

somewhat formal : the beginning of something : origin a book about the genesis of the civil rights movement

Full 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

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 That in itself raises questions about the genesis of such worlds. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, 13 Jan. 2022 The Patuxent River Commission’s roots go back decades, to the genesis of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup movement, and its 34 members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2021 Now was the right time to make the film; a beautiful portrait of the genesis of a true storyteller and artist. Julie Delpy, Variety, 22 Dec. 2021 My first-ever solid take on Sophie Taeuber-Arp, the subject of a wonderful retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, occurred nine years ago, by way of a survey, also at MOMA, of the genesis of abstract art, circa 1910-25. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 29 Nov. 2021 In a Dallas-area district, critical race theory was the genesis of an all-out fight this spring. Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY, 4 Nov. 2021 The child whose conception was the genesis of the lawsuit that became Roe v. Wade is now a 51-year-old woman ready to tell her story. Scott Stump, NBC News, 9 Sep. 2021 There is another genesis version, though, that Ginia Desmond of Tucson said dates to the day before her fifth birthday in June 1947. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 18 Dec. 2021 Asked about the genesis of his pregame routine, O’Neale smiled and, as usual, kept it simple. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Dec. 2021

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.

See More

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)


Learn More About genesis

Time Traveler for genesis

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near genesis




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for genesis

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Genesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for genesis


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

More from Merriam-Webster on genesis

Nglish: Translation of genesis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of genesis for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about genesis


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!