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

Example Sentences

Her ethnic origins are French. the origins of human language remain a matter of considerable debate
Recent Examples on the Web And in Memphis, the Turkeys of St. Mary’s Episcopal School won a state lacrosse title last year, though the Turkey trapshooting team could be seen as a direct threat to its avian origin. Mitch Smith Callaghan O’hare, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2022 The cultural ubiquity of Chippendales dancers has overshadowed its seedy origin. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 22 Nov. 2022 Gagne said the schools received similar calls and multiple agencies were investigating their origin. Nicki Brown, CNN, 19 Nov. 2022 Whatever problems arose had their origin in Swift’s unprecedented popularity. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 18 Nov. 2022 Its origin is the Italian word pentirsi, which means to change one’s mind or repent. Will Bedingfield, WIRED, 17 Nov. 2022 But Poland’s president, Duda, was more cautious about its origin, saying that officials did not know for sure who fired it or where it was made. Michael Balsamo, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2022 But President Andrzej Duda was more cautious about its origin, saying that officials did not know for sure who fired it or where it was made. John Leicester, Chicago Tribune, 15 Nov. 2022 Even though salsa and urban have a lot of things in common, starting with their origin, this song was the most peculiar for me. Jessica Roiz, Billboard, 2 Nov. 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.

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 2 Dec. 2022.

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

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

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