\ ˈsȯrs How to pronounce source (audio) \

Definition of source

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a generative force : cause
b(1) : a point of origin or procurement : beginning
(2) : one that initiates : author also : prototype, model
(3) : one that supplies information
2a : the point of origin of a stream of water : fountainhead
b archaic : spring, fount
3 : a firsthand document or primary reference work
4 : an electrode in a field-effect transistor that supplies the charge carriers for current flow — compare drain, gate


sourced; sourcing

Definition of source (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to specify the source of (something, such as quoted material)
2 : to obtain from a source metals sourced from abroad



Definition of source (Entry 3 of 3)

: of, relating to, or being source code a source file

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Other Words from source


sourceless \ ˈsȯrs-​ləs How to pronounce source (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for source


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 source in a Sentence

Noun The college had its own power source. She has been a great source of strength to me. His job is the family's main source of income. A government source spoke to the press today. The reporter has refused to reveal his sources. According to one source, the program will not cost a lot. information from various intelligence sources
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This may surprise you, but electric-power generation is the source of only about seven per cent of Maine’s emissions. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "No More Halfsies on Climate," 14 Apr. 2021 In addition, the federal government is the source for the state’s four Federal Emergency Management Agency sites set up for mass-vaccination in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. Richard Tribou,, "Florida to still get nearly 550k COVID vaccines next week despite no Johnson & Johnson," 14 Apr. 2021 With tickets starting at $35,000 each, the invite-only event is a crucial source of funding for the Costume Institute, raising $15 million in 2019, according to the New York Times. CNN, "The Met Gala will return this year but not on the first Monday in May," 13 Apr. 2021 But for the tiny cadre of disinformation entrepreneurs who are the source for most anti-vaccine messaging, the pause will certainly become ammunition – evidence that not just this vaccine, but all of them, are flawed. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "An abundance of caution with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," 13 Apr. 2021 Although the idea of eating an insect may make some squirm, cicadas are a great source of protein and perfectly tasty, said Marten Edwards, a biology professor at Muhlenberg College. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, "No, they won't bite: Debunking 8 common myths about cicadas and the incoming Brood X," 13 Apr. 2021 This gorgeous park, the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, was the source of coal for San Francisco and Sacramento during the 19th century. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "The Weekly Planet: The One Thing to Understand About Biden's Infrastructure Plan," 13 Apr. 2021 Opponents also worry about munitions and ordnance contaminating a fragile aquifer, which is the primary source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents from the surrounding towns, including Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich., "The National Guard wants to clear 170 acres of woods on Cape Cod for a new machine gun range," 13 Apr. 2021 Kowalski said the garden entrance is a source of pride, noting that that former gardeners Susie Lamb and Anita Humphrey designed and installed an entry garden full of perennials and grasses. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Rocky River Community Garden marks a decade of growth with new leadership: West Shore Chatter," 13 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To source the paintings used in the Ebony Tylah garments, the pair began by reaching out to some of their favorite museums across Europe. Liam Hess, Vogue, "Meet the Designer Duo Turning Baroque Paintings Into Fashion-Forward Jeans," 8 Apr. 2021 But as a restaurant that works closely with local farmers to source its ingredients, the answer was staring Singleton in the face. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "Subscriptions and memberships keep customers fed and Twin Cities restaurants in business," 12 Mar. 2021 Tinashe Machona said the Guard and Joint Task Force planners are working with each state and territory to source the new request. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "‘Collusion of stupidity’: National Guard extension at Capitol confounds experts," 10 Mar. 2021 One of the biggest issues is an influx of KN95 counterfeits on the market, said Anne Miller, executive director of Project N95, a nonprofit that helps people source personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "6 best KN95 face masks and where to buy them online," 1 Mar. 2021 Prices start from $415,000, plus the cost of a donor Porsche 964 (the 911 model made from 1989 through 1993), which Theon can source for you. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, "First Drive: Here’s How Theon Design Has Refined the Classic 911 Recipe," 18 Mar. 2021 Companies with the flexibility to source new materials with new suppliers quickly – these are the companies that can respond to shifts in demand and continue serving customers. Forbes, "Agility For Product Engineering: The Need To Modernize Product Lifecycle Management," 17 Mar. 2021 Feeding Texas will used the donations to source food, provide water and meet other needs, said Celia Cole, CEO of the nonprofit. Madison Iszler, San Antonio Express-News, "H-E-B is giving $1 million and launching donation campaign for Texas food banks," 24 Feb. 2021 Late last year, the industry was not able to source enough microchips for new cars, which forced at least eight automakers in North America and more around the world to adjust schedules at production plants. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Seat Foam Shortage Could Cut Car Production, and Texas Grid Failure Is Blamed," 7 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Survey results show that 73% of respondents are likely to co-source critical activities with the next 24 months. Rose Celestin, Forbes, "Tax Functions Face Challenges With Global Tax Policies Amid Covid-19," 24 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'source.' 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 source


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1957, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1959, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for source


Middle English sours, from Anglo-French surse spring, source, from past participle of surdre to rise, spring forth, from Latin surgere — more at surge

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Time Traveler for source

Time Traveler

The first known use of source was in the 14th century

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Statistics for source

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Source.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for source



English Language Learners Definition of source

: someone or something that provides what is wanted or needed
: the cause of something (such as a problem)
: a person, book, etc., that gives information


\ ˈsȯrs How to pronounce source (audio) \

Kids Definition of source

1 : a cause or starting point the source of a rumor
2 : the beginning of a stream of water the source of the Nile River
3 : someone or something that supplies information a reference source
4 : someone or something that provides what is needed a source of supplies a source of strength



Legal Definition of source

1 : a point of origin the source of the conflict
2 : one that supplies information a journalist's source

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Comments on source

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