or·​gan | \ˈȯr-gən \

Definition of organ 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a archaic : any of various musical instruments especially : wind instrument

b(1) : a keyboard instrument in which sets of pipes are sounded by compressed air and produce a variety of timbres

called also pipe organ

(2) : reed organ

(3) : an electronic keyboard instrument that approximates the sounds and resources of the pipe organ

(4) : any of various similar cruder instruments

2a : a differentiated structure (such as a heart, kidney, leaf, or stem) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism

b : bodily parts performing a function or cooperating in an activity the eyes and related structures that make up the visual organs

3 : a subordinate group or organization that performs specialized functions the various organs of government

variants: or organo-

Definition of organ- (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : organ organogenesis

2 : organic organomercurial

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of organ in a Sentence


the legislative organ of our government that newspaper is intended as an organ for the whole university community

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Plastic particles have been found to be absorbed from the gut into other organ systems in fish and mammals; in birds and fish, plastics in the gut have caused liver stress and problems with nutrient absorption. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Plastic found in the poop of eight people from eight different countries," 24 Oct. 2018 But protein serves a lot of other important purposes, like being the building blocks for muscles and organs, forming enzymes that support basic life functions, and building and repairing tissue, Davis says. Colleen Stinchcombe, Redbook, "What Are Macros, Exactly?," 27 Aug. 2018 Like adults in withdrawal, infants feel the effects in every organ system; their symptoms include tremors, muscle spasms, shrill crying, irritability, diarrhea, vomiting, poor sleeping, and seizures. Marie Mccullough,, "Newborns in opioid withdrawal may do better on methadone than morphine, major study finds," 18 June 2018 Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, which can interfere with various organs, including the brain. Dr. Patty Khuly, miamiherald, "When an older cat suddenly meows nonstop, it's time to visit the vet | Miami Herald," 23 May 2018 Reiser believes suPAR is an ancient and unspecific way for the immune system to send urgent signals to the major organ systems when an organism faces a severe challenge from disease or the environment. Stephen S. Hall, Science | AAAS, "What's your risk of kidney disease, heart attack, or diabetes? A single molecule can tell," 19 Apr. 2018 The old pillars of medical school — pathology, anatomy, histology and pharmacology — are now woven into courses organized by organ system. Gary Robbins,, "Timeline: The illustrated history of the UC San Diego School of Medicine," 18 Mar. 2018 Thyroid hormones can impact lots of different body parts and organ systems, so the symptoms of Graves' can have a wide variety. Emma Baty, Cosmopolitan, "Wendy Williams Diagnosed With Graves' Disease, Announces Show Hiatus," 21 Feb. 2018 These organs work together to cleanse your body from head to toe. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Health Matters: Is a "detox diet" good or bad for your health?," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'organ.' 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 organ


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for organ


Middle English, partly from Old English organa, from Latin organum, from Greek organon, literally, tool, instrument; partly from Anglo-French organe, from Latin organum; akin to Greek ergon work — more at work

Combining form

Greek organon

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about organ

Dictionary Entries near organ







organ beater

Statistics for organ

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for organ

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for organ



English Language Learners Definition of organ

: a part of the body (such as the heart or liver) that has a particular function

—used as a polite way of saying penis

: a musical instrument that has a keyboard and pipes of different lengths and that makes sound by pushing air through the pipes


or·​gan | \ˈȯr-gən \

Kids Definition of organ

1 : a musical instrument played by means of one or more keyboards and having pipes sounded by compressed air

2 : a part of a person, plant, or animal that is specialized to perform a particular function The eye is an organ of sight.

3 : a way of getting something done Courts are organs of government.


or·​gan | \ˈȯr-gən \

Medical Definition of organ 

: a differentiated structure (as a heart or kidney) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on organ

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


a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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