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

Keep scrolling for more

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

In the wintertime, microbes frequently had marine origins, coming primarily from the Atlantic, although these were mixed in with bugs from forest and other terrestrial sources. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Ahh, summer—ramlibacter season," 14 Nov. 2018 The GH Sustainability Awards will honor packaging by examining measurable criteria including material type and origin, product to packaging weight ratio, recyclability, compliance with model legislation and innovation. Good Housekeeping, "Frequently Asked Questions About Good Housekeeping's Sustainability Awards," 7 Nov. 2018 For more than a century, the origin of cosmic rays — fragments of atoms that rain down on the Earth at close to the speed of light — had been one of the great mysteries in science, thwarting the best minds in physics. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blazing a trail: UW professor's dream leads to breakthrough in identifying origin of cosmic rays," 12 July 2018 Being of Irish, English origin, skin cancer is a huge concern. Lindzi Scharf, latimes.com, "The real reason Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman is so passionate about sunscreen," 6 July 2018 About 30 fires were set since April when the city’s fire investigative unit began searching for the origin of the fires. Ruth Bruno, courant.com, "New Haven Man Charged With Arson After 30 Fires Set In City Trash Cans," 18 June 2018 Of 667 guns analyzed for their origins, 333 of them were from out of state, and 138 from the Bay State. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "Last year in Boston, about half of all guns traced by police had out-of-state origins," 15 June 2018 These are the first planets to be found using the powerful ALMA telescope in Chile, which is searching for our cosmic origins. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Three 'baby' planets found forming around newborn star," 13 June 2018 According to the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales, there are several theories for the origin of the Yass River's name. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Fab Five from 'Queer Eye' Have Taken Over Yass, Australia," 6 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about origin

Statistics for origin

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for origin

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up origin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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