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

Today, though, most of the major health agencies, including the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, have concluded that C.F.S. likely has a biological origin. Mike Mariani, The New Yorker, "A Town for People with Chronic Fatigue," 3 Sep. 2019 Despite its history of selling hunting weapons that goes back to Walmart's origins, Walmart has shifted its gun policies and strengthened gun safety measures. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, "Walmart ends all handgun ammunition sales and asks customers not to carry guns into stores," 3 Sep. 2019 Obviously, then, many traditional Italian dishes have an unsuspected Jewish origin. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "Edda Servi Machlin, 93, Champion of Italian Jewish Cuisine, Dies," 1 Sep. 2019 The cause and origin of the fire has not yet been reported. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Union Township, Cincinnati, Ohio, family safe; lost 'everything we owned' in house fire," 30 Aug. 2019 Crucially, Forbes notes, the researchers pinpointed Type X’s origins to two feral cats and one bobcat living in the vicinity of the otters’ Monterey Bay habitat. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Parasite Spread by House Cats Is Killing California’s Sea Otters," 30 Aug. 2019 An investigator from the state fire marshal’s office determined there were two or more separate areas of origin for the fire. Emily Cutts, Twin Cities, "Suspect charged with killing Winona man, burning down his house," 29 Aug. 2019 The camel in Inland is the subject addressed by one of the novel’s two main characters, Lurie, a wayward orphan of apparently Serbian origin living in the Southwest. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Téa Obreht Considers the Camel," 28 Aug. 2019 Dietary analysis also confirmed the skeletons’ diverse origins. Fox News, "'Skeleton Lake' mystery deepens with strange DNA discovery," 23 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

17 Sep 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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