\ 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 In a Facebook message to USA TODAY, Underground Patriot said its source for the article disappeared and that the page is looking to verify the claim through other sources. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, "Fact check: False news report indicates Biden plans to step down as president-elect," 5 Jan. 2021 For some, Carnival season king cake sales are their primary source of revenue; for many others these sales make a difference in the bottom line that resonates year-round. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer,, "5 things that will define king cake during a different Mardi Gras, from Saints to shipping," 4 Jan. 2021 For Grayson Capps, a singer-songwriter in Fairhope, a busy live performance schedule was his main source of income, pre-pandemic. al, "‘My whole world went away’: 2020 through the eyes of Alabamians," 31 Dec. 2020 Since former-Mayor Kevin Faulconer adopted the city’s climate plan in 2015, the city has relied on faulty data that massively exaggerates cuts to its largest source of climate pollution: tailpipe emission from cars and trucks. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego continues to tout greenhouse-gas reductions that never happened," 30 Dec. 2020 Orland Park, which relies on sales tax revenue as its biggest income source, said in approving its 2021 budget recently that sales tax revenue in the coming year could be down 7% from this year. Mike Nolan,, "COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life in south, southwest suburbs in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 Winsome Pendergrass, 63, a tenant and activist from the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, lost her main source of income providing in-home care. New York Times, "New York Bans Most Evictions as Tenants Struggle to Pay Rent," 28 Dec. 2020 While the details in the video match up with witness accounts and images later released by police, The Post was unable to identify its source. Joyce Sohyun Lee, Washington Post, "Gunfire, warnings, then an explosion: What videos show about the Nashville bombing," 27 Dec. 2020 As the ice shrinks, the access to their food source is diminished., "11 animal personalities you have to meet at the Milwaukee County Zoo," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The company wanted to open direct stores in India, which is one of its fastest-growing markets, but the Indian government mandated that a brand must source 30% of its raw materials locally to be able to do so. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Modi’s Make in India revolution is coming at the cost of Indian factory workers," 23 Dec. 2020 His company offers breweries a chance to buy cans from him or source them directly. cleveland, "Candemic forecast: Expect breweries to deal with strain on can supply into 2021," 22 Dec. 2020 Presented with the opportunity to source environmentally friendly textiles back in 2018, Balek jumped at the chance to adapt. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "How Thailand’s Biggest Swimwear Label Went Sustainable," 17 Dec. 2020 Like garagiste winemakers, who source grapes from others’ vineyards, the pair buy their milk from regional dairies. Angela Decenzo, Travel, "How California’s cheese trail avoided a meltdown," 11 Dec. 2020 Similarly, online grocer Good Eggs is trying to source smaller turkeys after an informal poll of customers showed that 97% planned to celebrate Thanksgiving with a small group. Janelle Bitker,, "Jewish New Year signals how the pandemic will change the holiday season," 26 Sep. 2020 The O’Reilly women source the fruit and call the shots on everything from when to pick to blending. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "O’Reilly family thinks plastic is fantastic for their new Nomen wines," 15 Dec. 2020 For the longer term, if globalization doesn’t pick up again, that tends to mean companies must source their goods with more expensive suppliers, pushing up prices. . . . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of December 7," 12 Dec. 2020 Beginners should source earthworms online, with 500 earthworms — about one-half pound — as a good start, said Caldwell, a longtime worm hobbyist and Forest Preserve District staff member. Dennis Sullivan,, "Want a low maintenance pet that recycles garbage? Try worms," 9 Dec. 2020

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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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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Statistics for source

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Source.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for source


How to pronounce source (audio)

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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