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

The genesis of the incident was a hit by pitch with two outs in the eighth inning of Cincinnati's 6-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Cubs pitcher calls Yasiel Puig 'stupid as (expletive)' following benches-clearing incident," 29 June 2019 What is clear, however, is that the secrets of life’s earthly genesis would be invaluable guides in the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Shannon Stirone, Scientific American, "New NASA Mission Will Fly Titan’s Frigid Skies to Search for Life’s Beginnings," 27 June 2019 Another theory holds that the gap results directly from planetary genesis, maybe because of the location or makeup of the gas and dust left over from the star’s birth. Quanta Magazine, "As Planet Discoveries Pile Up, a Gap Appears in the Pattern," 16 May 2019 Unlike other jukebox musicals such as Mamma Mia!, Yesterday explains the genesis of its songs with performances that fuel the story, making it a highly meta and self-aware take on the genre the Beatles themselves played a part in popularizing. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "How Yesterday Builds the Sound of the Beatles, Without the Beatles," 27 June 2019 It’s genesis was a desire by us to find a way to make a meaningful lasting impact in the community. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend County youths eat lunch thanks to Reliant," 21 June 2019 This seems to be the genesis of what might by now qualify as a controversy. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: IU using Big Ten Network millions for more than just athletics — and that's OK," 19 June 2019 Ultimately, the pizzeria, as an idea, is McNaughton coming back to the genesis of his flagship restaurant Flour + Water. Justin Phillips,, "Flour + Water Pizzeria opens in San Francisco’s Mission District with $8 slices," 5 June 2019 However much the human ingenuity reflected in virtual worlds might transport and delight us, only the godly genesis depicted by Blake can transcend and deliver us. Andrew Stark, WSJ, "‘Living With the Gods’ Review: The Gang’s All Here," 16 Nov. 2018

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

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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