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

Within a week, the cells were growing into organoids—small blobs of tissue similar to organs in mature organisms. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Researchers grow a placenta in a petri dish," 4 Dec. 2018 Such cultures also have been used to create miniature versions of eyes, guts, livers, kidney, prostates, and several other organs. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Re-create Baby Brain Readings in a Dish," 19 Nov. 2018 The cause: Like any other organ, cysts can occur on the skin. Mona Gohara, Good Housekeeping, "7 Common Scalp Issues — And How to Treat Them," 31 July 2018 The most common issues depend on the severity of the injury, but commonly require doctors to prevent too much blood loss, treat damage to organs or bones, prevent infection, and manage pain. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Reasons These Doctors Are So Outspoken About Gun Violence," 14 Nov. 2018 Surveying the mutant landscape The researchers examined cells lining the esophagus of nine deceased organ donors ranging in age from 20 to 75. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Healthy tissues in older people carry a lot of cancer-promoting mutations," 26 Oct. 2018 While the cure rate is high when caught early, unchecked cases can spread to internal organs. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 The story is about Eric's son, Chris, who became an organ donor and died without warning. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "Here's What You Need to Know About "The Kissing Booth" Star Jacob Elordi," 5 July 2018 Bobbi Johnson said in an earlier post that Jason was an organ donor and that he would be buried in his hometown of Eunice, La. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bobbi Johnson says of her husband's death: 'It was a racing accident. No one's fault.'," 26 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

Statistics for organ

Last Updated

14 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on organ

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with organ

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for organ

Spanish Central: Translation of organ

Nglish: Translation of organ for Spanish Speakers

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

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 nest or breeding place

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