\ 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 sourceless (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


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

Now that The Handmaid’s Tale has diverged from its source material, the show will have to zoom out. Elena Nicolaou,, "The Handmaid's Tale," 6 June 2019 The city is in contact with the current property manager and a contractor that plans to do some excavation work in the property’s parking area to locate and fix the source of the problem, said Erik Johnson, the city’s development services director. Rebecca Lurye,, "Sewage backup forces emergency relocations from troubled Hartford apartment complex," 6 June 2019 And the writing, liberated since Season 2 from Margaret Atwood’s elegantly spare source material, is all over the place, meaning that June gets ponderous inner monologues comparing herself to trees, but also sporadically clunky outbursts. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Empty Empowerment of The Handmaid’s Tale," 5 June 2019 The report said Peterson knew where the gunshots were coming from but didn't investigate the source of them. CBS News, "Florida deputy charged after staying outside during Parkland school shooting," 5 June 2019 Bransfield, 75, drew on a source of revenue that many parishioners knew little about, oil-rich land in Texas donated to the diocese more than a century ago. Anchorage Daily News, "W. Virgnia bishop spent millions on himself and sent cash to priests he was accused of mistreating, Vatican report says," 5 June 2019 The other source of help for communities in the disaster bill has a checkered history. Thomas Frank, Scientific American, "What Long-Awaited Disaster Funding Does—And Does Not—Include," 5 June 2019 When a show is adapted from a book or, like Game of Thrones, a series of books, the point at which the adapter outruns the source material is tricky. Ellen Gray,, "‘Big Little Lies’ & ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’: Still things to see here?," 4 June 2019 In other words, nobody should be wondering about the source of McKinnie’s work ethic and perseverance. K.c. Johnson,, "That Alfonzo McKinnie is playing for the Warriors after years of obscurity is a good story. That he's playing against the Raptors makes it better.," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The menu includes Peruvian ingredients sourced from around the country. Catherine Elton, WSJ, "A Bohemian Neighborhood in Peru Gets a Luxury Lift," 10 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, John’s studio sourced a cravat jacquard in mauve from Charvet, the storied Parisian men’s outfitter, and a selection of textiles in shades of grape and wisteria. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "The Story Behind Hamish Bowles’s Maison Margiela Artisanal by John Galliano Met Gala Look," 8 May 2019 Sierra Nevada runoff and snow water equivalent scenario data sourced from UCLA Center for Climate Science’s Climate Change in the Sierra Nevada project. Lauren Tierney, Washington Post, "Precipitation whiplash and climate change threaten California’s freshwater," 9 May 2018 Dubbed House 28, the weekend retreat in southeastern Australia was designed with sustainability in mind, incorporating three 20-foot shipping containers sourced from nearby Port Melbourne and set on steel silts anchored in concrete piles. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 5 best shipping container houses of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Hillary Clinton secretly bought a dossier that was sourced to Kremlin operatives. Fox News, "Will Giuliani's press tour help or hurt the president?," 31 July 2018 Most of the produce comes straight from the restaurant's own on-site hydroponic garden, and all seafood is sustainably sourced. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Best Restaurants in Boston," 16 July 2018 The Open Call program is a commitment by Walmart to buy an additional $250 billion worth of products made, sourced or grown in the United States over a decade. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Coming to Walmart's shelves: Mesa entrepreneur's cooking sauces," 19 June 2018 Commerce has 90-days to review applications and is supposed to decide whether to grant an exclusion based on whether the steel or aluminum product can be sourced in the United States or not. Heather Long, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Economists say we're not in a full-blown trade war. Yet.," 19 June 2018

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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Statistics for source

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for source

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on source

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with source

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for source

Spanish Central: Translation of source

Nglish: Translation of source for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of source for Arabic Speakers

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