or·​i·​gin | \ ˈȯr-ə-jən How to pronounce origin (audio) , ˈär- \

Definition of origin

1 : ancestry, parentage was of humble origin She is of French origin.
2a : 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 The company, which works with more than 2,000 clients in Russia, has seen imports fall 50% to 70% depending on their origin. Evan Gershkovich, WSJ, 18 May 2022 Not every Asian can trace their origin from the same country. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 13 May 2022 Unaware of its origin, tow truck driver Robert Kimes transported the vehicle to a local tow lot. Eric Levenson, CNN, 11 May 2022 But Johnson's money was seized by Phoenix police when officers confronted him at Sky Harbor International Airport and questioned its origin before accusing him of being involved in a money-laundering operation. Perry Vandell, The Arizona Republic, 11 May 2022 Visionary public defenders in San Diego just started to challenge the constitutionality of those laws because of their explicitly racist origin, so that’s a case of public defenders following the leadership of activists and immigrant communities. San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2022 As essential building blocks of life on Earth, understanding how the amino acids formed in the soil may help researchers understand their origin and distribution in the solar system, a statement explains. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 May 2022 The door to its backroom had a peephole, marking its origin as a speak-easy, a Prohibition-era underground saloon. Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 28 Apr. 2022 Tehran doesn’t disclose official data for its oil exports, which are carried through covert tactics such as vessels going dark or transferring their cargoes to other ships to conceal their origin. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'origin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of origin

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for origin

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

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Time Traveler for origin

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

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Statistics for origin

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Origin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/origin. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for origin


or·​i·​gin | \ ˈȯr-ə-jən How to pronounce origin (audio) \

Kids Definition of origin

1 : basic source or cause The origin of their quarrel is not known.
2 : a person's ancestry They are people of humble origin.
3 : the rise or beginning from a source The story has its origin in fact.
4 : the point where the reference axes meet in a graph or coordinate plane


or·​i·​gin | \ ˈȯr-ə-jən, ˈär- How to pronounce origin (audio) \

Medical Definition of origin

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

Nglish: Translation of origin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of origin for Arabic Speakers


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