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

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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

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 The jazz organ tradition is one of the uniquely great glories of Philadelphia’s music history, with a long lineage of players including Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Trudy Pitts, and both Papa John and Joey DeFrancesco, among many others. Grace Dickinson,, "Taylor Swift, 'Star Wars' with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and other great events in Philadelphia, July 13-20," 12 July 2018 Bypassing bone, the impact destroys the control center for vital organs. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018 Another of Graves' interests is the study of the human heart, how the peculiarities of one organ's rhythm are indicative of an individual's health and how music might help the patient heal. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Milford Graves: Full Mantis': Film Review," 11 July 2018 Indiana Medical History Museum Get an up-close look at human brains, skeletons and organs in the cabinets or venture into the autopsy room at the Indiana Medical History Museum, one of Indianapolis' strangest spots. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 More than 114,000 people in the U.S. are currently listed as waiting for an organ transplant. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "How to Provide Better Incentives to Organ Donors," 24 June 2018 Others might have long-term infections that are preventing them from getting organ transplants. Eric Boodman, STAT, "First phage therapy center in the U.S. signals growing acceptance," 21 June 2018 Getting an organ transplant is not, to put it lightly, a convenient or pleasant process. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Brainstorm Health: HIV Organ Transplants, Artificial Iris Approval, New Jersey Individual Mandate," 1 June 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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near organ







organ beater

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2 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for organ

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

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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

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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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