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

An annual physical exam of Mei found the 33-year-old orangutan had a very large tumor that was pushing on her organs. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "Monkey Jungle has reopened. Here is what has happened since the animal-abuse allegations.," 12 July 2018 The bolt entered through his neck and exited through his right foot, effectively missing all of his internal organs. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "18-Year-Old Juliette Moore Saved Her Boyfriend's Life After He Was Struck by Lightning," 11 July 2018 That is, assuming your organs have stopped vibrating by then. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 In the December 2012 attack, prosecutors said the four took their victim to the back of a private bus in New Delhi, raping her and then damaging her internal organs with an iron rod. Fox News, "India court rejects death sentence appeal in 2012 gang rape," 10 July 2018 In the December 2012 attack, prosecutors said the four took their victim to the back of a private bus in New Delhi, raping her and penetrating her with an iron rod that damaged her internal organs. Aijaz Hussain, The Seattle Times, "India court keeps 3 death sentences in 2012 fatal gang rape," 9 July 2018 Or writhes on the ground, squirming as if his organs are shutting down and his capacity for normal function has left him. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "For all his talent, Neymar is an embarrassment to soccer," 2 July 2018 The researchers are working on a number of devices that integrate with the human body and relay messages from our organs. Alex Hogan, STAT, "WATCH: Our bodies talk to us — and these implantable devices can help listen," 29 June 2018 This can create an environment in which the bacteria can grow on the tampon and produce a toxin that gets into the bloodstream, affecting your organs. Korin Miller, SELF, "The Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome You Need to Know," 29 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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Last Updated

21 Sep 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

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characteristic trappings or dress

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