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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Pavel Podvig, who runs the research organization Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, notes that the global community knows the location of the roughly 12 nuclear weapons storage facilities around Russia where this activity would likely originate. WIRED, 18 Oct. 2022 The headquarters, Hoover said, will largely be a media center where podcasts and internet broadcasts can originate no matter the location of the tournament. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al, 14 Sep. 2022 Some offsets in the US market will originate in African countries. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 10 Nov. 2022 The show, Kyle Brandt’s Basement, will actually originate from a tiny studio in the Good Morning Football host’s basement, and will be available on ESPN’s YouTube channel as well as all the major podcast platforms. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Aug. 2022 Her personal projects originate from themes such as nostalgia, death and the subconscious. Vogue, 27 Oct. 2022 Again, these are only English-language tweets, and a substantial majority of them originate in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 18 Oct. 2022 BallerVision will originate from various locations throughout the season. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 17 Oct. 2022 Starting in the middle of 2024, Polestar 3s meant for the North American market will originate in Volvo’s Ridgeville, South Carolina factory. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 12 Oct. 2022 See More

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

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 2 Dec. 2022.

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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