orig·​i·​nate ə-ˈri-jə-ˌnāt How to pronounce originate (audio)
originated; originating

intransitive verb

: to take or have origin : begin
That board game originated in the 1940s.

transitive verb

: to give rise to : initiate
The composer originated 10 songs for the Broadway musical.
origination noun
Choose the Right Synonym for originate

spring, arise, rise, originate, derive, flow, issue, emanate, proceed, stem mean to come up or out of something into existence.

spring implies rapid or sudden emerging.

an idea that springs to mind

arise and rise may both convey the fact of coming into existence or notice but rise often stresses gradual growth or ascent.

new questions have arisen
slowly rose to prominence

originate implies a definite source or starting point.

the fire originated in the basement

derive implies a prior existence in another form.

the holiday derives from an ancient Roman feast

flow adds to spring a suggestion of abundance or ease of inception.

words flowed easily from her pen

issue suggests emerging from confinement through an outlet.

blood issued from the cut

emanate applies to the coming of something immaterial (such as a thought) from a source.

reports emanating from the capital

proceed stresses place of origin, derivation, parentage, or logical cause.

advice that proceeds from the best of intentions

stem implies originating by dividing or branching off from something as an outgrowth or subordinate development.

industries stemming from space research

Examples of originate in a Sentence

These stories originated during earlier times. The book originated as a series of lectures. The sound seemed to originate from outside the room. The custom is believed to have originated in the western U.S. He did not originate the idea. The policy was originated by the previous administration.
Recent Examples on the Web The claim of Baphomet birthday parties originated from the satirical network America’s Last Line of Defense. Brieanna J. Frank, USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2024 An example Bates provides is chorioamnionitis–an infection often originating from the cervical and vaginal area. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 15 Apr. 2024 The majority of the funding for European companies originates from European investors, based on Dealroom data. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 15 Apr. 2024 In 1969, Thompson originated off-Broadway the role of Shanty Mulligan in the Joseph Papp-produced No Place to Be Somebody, starring Ron O’Neal, then accompanied the drama to Broadway and on a tour around the country. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Apr. 2024 Among the objects found were a trove of coins, originating from Malaysia, China and Portugal, revealing the interconnected world in which the ship’s occupants would have been part of. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 12 Apr. 2024 Sorkin originated the character for her official DC debut in the TV show as Joker's love interest before Harley formally jumped to the comic book universe in 1999. EW.com, 9 Apr. 2024 People who love cocktails say that this one originated at Brennan's in New Orleans, a legendary restaurant known for breakfast and brunch accompanied by impressive cocktails. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 8 Apr. 2024 Zuckerburg conspiracy theory originated from ‘Big Lie’ The Zuckerberg conspiracy theory only adds to election workers’ troubles. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

1668, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of originate was in 1668

Dictionary Entries Near originate

Cite this Entry

“Originate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/originate. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


orig·​i·​nate ə-ˈrij-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce originate (audio)
originated; originating
: to bring into existence : cause to be : initiate, invent
: to come into existence : arise
origination noun
originator noun

Legal Definition


orig·​i·​nate ə-ˈri-jə-ˌnāt How to pronounce originate (audio)
originated; originating

transitive verb

: to give rise to
specifically : to issue (a mortgage loan) usually for subsequent sale in a pool of mortgage loans to a secondary market compare service

intransitive verb

: to take or have origin
origination noun
originator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on originate

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