origin

noun
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

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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

For Saudi Arabia the origin of the attack is almost immaterial. The Economist, "Drone attacks cut Saudi Arabia’s oil output by half," 15 Sep. 2019 Even at this late date, some still assume that the pure origins of country music are folk songs that were brought to America from the British Isles, but country has been an essentially omnivorous genre every step of the way. David Cantwell, The New Yorker, "Ken Burns’s Delightful “Country Music” Gets the Big Things Mostly Right," 15 Sep. 2019 What are the origins of the political terms ‘left’ and ‘right’? Madeleine Carlisle, Time, "What to Know About the Origins of 'Left' and 'Right' in Politics, From the French Revolution to the 2020 Presidential Race," 12 Sep. 2019 Historian Lynn Bowman told the newspaper the origin of the mountain’s name is unknown, but some accounts refer to it being named after a black man who died in a battle with Native Americans. USA TODAY, "Animation behind bars, Elliott the elk, SkyStar: News from around our 50 states," 10 Sep. 2019 The origins of the fire aboard the dive boat Conception on Monday are now the subject of an intensive investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal and county agencies. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Living on the streets, dying on the streets," 5 Sep. 2019 Eventually this time period gives rise to the First Order, whose origins are still mysterious. James Hibberd, EW.com, "The Mandalorian unmasked: ‘We did things no Star Wars fan has ever seen’," 5 Sep. 2019 Lopez: How are the origins of identity politics pre-politics? Nr Interview, National Review, "Identity Politics Runs Much Deeper than Politics," 27 Aug. 2019 The origin of the plastron covering the underside of the turtle is less obvious. Hans-dieter Sues, Smithsonian, "How the Turtle Got Its Shell, With Apologies to Aesop," 20 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for origin

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for origin

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

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More Definitions for origin

origin

noun

English Language Learners Definition of origin

: the point or place where something begins or is created : the source or cause of something
: the place, social situation, or type of family that a person comes from

origin

noun
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

origin

noun
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on origin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for origin

Spanish Central: Translation of origin

Nglish: Translation of origin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of origin for Arabic Speakers

Comments on origin

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