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
(3) : reed 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

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 An organ was being tuned onstage, letting out a fluteish wheeze. New York Times, 19 July 2022 In the images from Trepp's post, the newlyweds stood on a platform before an organ, surrounded by friends beneath a canopy of trees – even posing for a photo with a cutout of their dog. Alexandra Schonfeld,, 1 July 2022 An average of 17 people die every day while awaiting their turn to receive an organ. Sydney Page, Washington Post, 22 June 2022 An organ called the olfactory bulb shunts the chemical messages straight to the part of the brain that deals with stored feelings and memories, bypassing the cerebral cortex, the main part of the brain. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 11 June 2022 Buried deep in the brain's temporal lobe, the hippocampus is an oddly shaped organ that is responsible for learning, consolidating memories and spatial navigation, such as the ability to remember directions, locations and orientations. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 31 May 2022 But his strongest words involved the fact that women bear the greatest impact of the law, noting that under the two laws, organ donors have more rights than do pregnant people. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 22 July 2022 Currently, requiring an organ transplant often requires waiting on a list for an available donor to come along. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 16 July 2022 Bioethicists generally support the idea of xenotransplantation, though animal rights activists say they wouldn't be needed if more people were organ donors. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 12 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Organ.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for organ


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

More from Merriam-Webster on organ

Nglish: Translation of organ for Spanish Speakers

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


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