origin

noun

or·​i·​gin ˈȯr-ə-jən How to pronounce origin (audio)
ˈär-
1
: ancestry, parentage
was of humble origin
She is of French origin.
2
a
: rise, beginning, or derivation from a source
the origin of life on Earth
The word "algebra" is of Arabic origin.
b
: the point at which something begins or rises or from which it derives
the origin of the custom
also : something that creates, causes, or gives rise to another
a spring is the origin of the brook
3
: the more fixed, central, or larger attachment of a muscle
4
: the intersection of coordinate axes
Choose the Right Synonym for origin

origin, source, inception, root mean the point at which something begins its course or existence.

origin applies to the things or persons from which something is ultimately derived and often to the causes operating before the thing itself comes into being.

an investigation into the origin of baseball

source applies more often to the point where something springs into being.

the source of the Nile
the source of recurrent trouble

inception stresses the beginning of something without implying causes.

the business has been a success since its inception

root suggests a first, ultimate, or fundamental source often not easily discerned.

the real root of the violence

Examples of origin in a Sentence

Her ethnic origins are French. the origins of human language remain a matter of considerable debate
Recent Examples on the Web Imagine Dragons rocker Dan Reynolds and actress Minka Kelly’s relationship has a unique origin story. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 2 July 2024 The article, despite its satirical origin, was posted as real on June 25. Joedy McCreary, USA TODAY, 2 July 2024 How urban tree selection affects your allergies Tom Ogren, the independent researcher who first explained botanical sexism, traces its origins back to the USDA’s 1949 Yearbook of Agriculture. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 1 July 2024 At first, she was amused by the curiosity of locals stopping by to catch a glimpse of the structure and ponder theories about its origins. Tiney Ricciardi, The Denver Post, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for origin 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'origin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English origine, from Latin origin-, origo, from oriri to rise — more at orient entry 2

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of origin was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near origin

Cite this Entry

“Origin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/origin. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

origin

noun
or·​i·​gin ˈȯr-ə-jən How to pronounce origin (audio)
ˈär-
1
2
a
: a rising, beginning, or coming from a source
b
: basic source or cause
3
: the intersection of the x-axis and y-axis on a graph
Etymology

Middle English origine "ancestry," from Latin origin-, origo, from oriri "to rise" — related to aborigine, orient see Word History at orient

Medical Definition

origin

noun
or·​i·​gin ˈȯr-ə-jən, ˈär- How to pronounce origin (audio)
1
: the point at which something begins or rises or from which it derives
2
: the more fixed, central, or larger attachment of a muscle compare insertion sense 1

More from Merriam-Webster on origin

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!