or·​gan | \ ˈȯr-gən How to pronounce organ (audio) \

Definition of organ

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2a(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) : an electronic keyboard instrument that approximates the sounds and resources of the pipe organ
(4) : any of various similar cruder instruments
b archaic : any of various musical instruments especially : wind instrument
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

Noun the legislative organ of our government that newspaper is intended as an organ for the whole university community
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chelsie Subecki with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education said after her death Johnson gave life-saving gifts as an organ donor. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Funeral service honors West Virginia patrol officer killed in the line of duty," 9 Dec. 2020 Johnson captured this image of surgeons removing the face from organ donor Adrea Schneider. Nick Nichols, Photography, "Nat Geo’s 21 most compelling images of the 21st century," 8 Dec. 2020 Patricia Pruett Onnen, a former model active in hereditary societies, died of multiple organ failure Nov. 25 at her Cockeysville home. Jacques Kelly,, "Patricia Pruett Onnen, a former fashion model active in hereditary societies, dies," 1 Dec. 2020 Directed by Lance Hool, the film tells the true story of 19-year-old Christopher Gregory (a ham-fistedly goofy Jacob Elordi), an organ donor who saved the life of businessman Jorge Bacardi and whose legacy inspired his father to write a book. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Jacob Elordi drama 2 Hearts flatlines despite good intentions: Review," 16 Oct. 2020 It was released early last week that Currin was an organ donor. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "Private funeral for Moeller's Michael Currin is Monday morning," 28 Sep. 2020 According to Olympic historians, Missy Schwen Ryan remains the only organ donor ever to have won a medal. David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, "Love, glory, family: 20 years ago, Indiana rower became first organ donor to win Olympic medal," 24 Sep. 2020 Doing exactly what its name suggests, Save Venice has restored dozens of landmarks, including the organ at the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Church of San Sebastiano, and the Old Jewish Cemetery. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Margherita Missoni Wants Your Help Saving Venice," 17 Nov. 2020 Bone is a dynamic, living organ, composed of long coils of a protein called collagen, stiffened by crystals of calcium hydroxide and phosphate—hydroxyapatite—to give the vertebrate body its framework. John J. Ross, WSJ, "‘Bones’ Review: Getting Down to the Marrow," 30 Oct. 2020

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 2b

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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Time Traveler for organ

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Organ.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for organ


How to pronounce organ- (audio)

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 How to pronounce organ (audio) \

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 How to pronounce organ (audio) \

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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