\ 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

And that’s just one of the countless components that the Air Force sources. Wired, "The Air Force Will Let Hackers Try to Hijack an Orbiting Satellite," 17 Sep. 2019 Methodology Historical presidential results come from the MIT Election Data + Science Lab and were carefully spot-checked against other sources. Time, "The High-Risk Strategy That Could Hand Democrats the White House," 17 Sep. 2019 The source provided Gramajo's address, business address and information on his car. Amir Vera And Ed Lavandera, CNN, "Houston activist who invited ICE to a community forum is facing deportation. His family believes he was targeted," 17 Sep. 2019 According to the plan, the commission will make recommendations on a host of issues including how best to streamline disaster relief applications and creating a permanent source of disaster relief funding. Priscilla Thompson, NBC News, "Pete Buttigieg to unveil disaster relief plan in South Carolina," 17 Sep. 2019 Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are probing the source of the explosion., "A maintenance worker at the facility, Larry Lord, 60, was also injured in the explosion. He was flown to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.," 17 Sep. 2019 Testing never did pinpoint the exact source of contamination, though the fair’s petting zoo and pony rides were ruled out. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Missed phone calls, changing stories: How E. coli spread at the San Diego County Fair," 17 Sep. 2019 All of this was a buffet for zooplankton, tiny creatures such as copepods and krill that are rich in fats and are key food sources for young fish, birds and some marine mammals. Anchorage Daily News, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 17 Sep. 2019 Johan is the lead singer of a Viking death metal group called Blood Death, which acts as a source of power for Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). Nick Romano,, "American Gods," 17 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All of the pasta is handmade in-house daily, and the produce is sourced directly from local farms. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Safety flaws aboard the Conception," 7 Sep. 2019 About 50% of the Roxor’s content is sourced in the United States, including exhaust system, paint, tires, tops, glass, Warn winches and locking hubs. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Jeep-like ATV looks like a toy — but Mahindra means business," 31 Aug. 2019 Décor accents were sourced from shops on Charles Street such as December Thieves; guests also get discount perks from the hotel’s retail partners. Pamela Wright,, "The Whitney is a former nurses’ dorm, transformed with care," 20 Aug. 2019 MadrasMade Launched around four years ago, the startups’ listing on Madras Made were initially sourced from a Facebook group called the Chennai Open Coffee Club, which has been active since 2008 and has over 11,000 members. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Chennai’s startup scene may be smaller, but it is SaaS-sy—and has a map of its own," 6 Aug. 2019 Even in the grocery store, purchasing products that are ethically sourced can have a resounding impact. Kelli Bender,, "School for Orphaned Baby Orangutans Helps the Young Primates Grow Up and Graduate to the Wild," 1 Aug. 2019 Dershowitz told Vox this was inaccurate, and charged that the anecdote had been sourced from, an anti-Semitic website. Anna North, Vox, "Alan Dershowitz helped sex offender Jeffrey Epstein get a plea deal. Now he’s tweeting about age of consent laws.," 30 July 2019 Flour for the Neapolitan-style pizza dough comes from Italy, while toppings are sourced locally. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pizza farms are a Wisconsin summer must-do," 18 July 2019 The Coast Guard has put increased resources in the eastern Pacific, which has become the favored route for cocaine that is sourced in South and Central America. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pence praises Coast Guard drug seizure efforts and criticizes immigration system during San Diego visit," 12 July 2019

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

13 Oct 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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