\ 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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most of the county is designated as the Stanislaus National Forest or Yosemite National Park — the latter drew 3.29 million visitors to the area last year, a major source of income for the county. Ryan Kost, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2022 And food became the main source of hope and optimism. Ali Wentworth, Town & Country, 8 May 2022 Land sales are a major source of local government revenue. Jacky Wong, WSJ, 6 May 2022 There, the West's initial disbelief about the data indicating mildness was a major source of irritation for figures such as Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand and a top World Health Organization adviser. David Meyer, Fortune, 5 May 2022 Russia is a major source of them, and they are expected to increase as the U.S. aids Ukraine in its defense against the Russian invasion. Donnelle Eller, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 Russia is a leading exporter of oil, natural gas and coal, while Ukraine is a major source of wheat and corn. Matt Egan, CNN, 27 Apr. 2022 Images and PDFs are often a major source of backlinks and site traffic. Rashad Nasir, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 The use of stormwater also could become a major source for the state, the report says. Michael Smolenscolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Applied Materials will source 100% of its energy used in the U.S. from renewable sources by 2022 and globally by 2030. Blake Morgan, Forbes, 1 May 2022 Solar panels on your roof will source clean, pure energy directly from the sun, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels. Miriam Porter, House Beautiful, 22 Apr. 2022 The new factory will source materials from Mountain Pass, California. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 21 Apr. 2022 And even companies that manufacture the finished doors domestically typically source parts from China that have been snarled in global shipping. New York Times, 15 Feb. 2022 The move will have a limited impact on the domestic launch industry, because companies have been developing rockets that do not use Russian engines or (in the case of SpaceX) do not source their launch hardware outside the U.S. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 The ban now means US businesses can't buy Russian diamonds at all and will have to source Canadian, African, Brazilian or Australian diamonds, said Zimnisky. Parija Kavilanz, CNN, 12 Mar. 2022 The person would have to source some false teeth, then fabricate the letter and send it all the way from Spain. Matt Reynolds, Wired, 23 Feb. 2022 Grid Studio has to source those iPhones, which at this point, are both rare and valuable. Christian De Looper, BGR, 14 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The journey towards this new initiative was filled with legal and political drama, though the ultimate result codifies the multi-cloud, multi-source strategy. Emil Sayegh, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 Survey results show that 73% of respondents are likely to co-source critical activities with the next 24 months. Rose Celestin, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About source

Time Traveler for source

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near source




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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Source.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for source


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on source

Nglish: Translation of source for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of source for Arabic Speakers


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