\ 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

LegitTayUpdates is a source of profoundly moving optimism. Vogue, "The Viral Taylor Swift Stan Story That Made Me Love the Internet Again," 5 Apr. 2019 Worker misclassification under the NLRA is the source of many of the ongoing labor disputes in multiple industries, from tech to digital media. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Freelancers Want to Join Unions but Labor Laws Won't Let Them," 4 Apr. 2019 Reddit's MakeupAddiction subreddit has always been a great source of look inspiration, moderator drama, and product recommendations — especially affordable product recommendations. Marci Robin, Allure, "I Just Found Out About This $1 Matte Liquid Lipstick on Reddit, and Now I'm Obsessed," 25 Mar. 2019 Your gyno is a fab source of reliable, judgment-free info about your TMI health concerns. Kara Wahlgren, Seventeen, "Does A Pap Smear Hurt?!," 29 Jan. 2019 Intel’s manufacturing woes have been a source of questions since 2018, as has been when Intel will name a replacement for Brian Krzanich, Intel’s former chief executive, who unexpectedly stepped down about seven months ago. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel addresses processor shortages, CEO hunt after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results," 24 Jan. 2019 Keiynan Lonsdale, Frank Ocean, and Kevin Abstract are among a new guard of performers who are unafraid of their queerness and use it as a source of strength. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, "Frank Ocean, Moonlight, and the New Era of Queer Black Men in Pop Culture," 26 Mar. 2019 Although the purchase price was undisclosed, a source close to the matter said Airbnb paid about $450 million... Laura Forman, WSJ, "Airbnb Wants to Be a Contender," 11 Mar. 2019 Don't spray near grills, candles, lit cigarettes, or open flames, and make sure your skins is thoroughly dry before approaching any sources of fire . Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Use Spray Sunscreen the Right Way, According to Dermatologists," 15 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Start from the ground up by skipping out on low quality prefabricated bed frames in favor of one made from sustainably sourced wood. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "A Beginner's Guide to Making Your Home More Sustainable," 1 Apr. 2019 Its vibrant pieces were inspired by daily rituals, and range from chairs to bowls to even a sustainably sourced bag. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "IKEA's Newest Collection Celebrates African Design," 1 Mar. 2019 The chefs will source the filling from Gageodo, former President Kim Dae-jung's hometown. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "North Korea to send special noodle making machine (and chef) to DMZ for summit," 24 Apr. 2018 Her new lodge at Blackberry Mountain, which incorporates locally sourced wood and sandstone into a modern aesthetic, represents the resort’s latest evolution. Vanessa Gregory, ELLE Decor, "A Recently Renovated Mid-Century Home in Knoxville, Tennessee," 7 Feb. 2019 The report outlining this new engine project is badly sourced, but the basic idea fits in with Taiwan’s other unusual attempts to study old military technology to develop new equipment. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Taiwan is Reverse-Engineering Fighter Jet Engines To Power a Cruise Missile," 3 Jan. 2019 The theater's management started a crowd-sourcing campaign with Kickstarter and raised $70,000 in just two months, with owners John and Barb Bendall paying the difference. Morgan Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee's neighborhood theaters endure as competition grows," 15 Feb. 2018 Today brings the launch of Derek Lam + eBay, the designer's crowd-sourced collection for the online giant. Veronique Hyland, Harper's BAZAAR, "Now Online: Derek Lam + eBay Goes on Sale Today!," 10 May 2011 Quartermaster Eatery This restaurant goes to Herculean heights to ensure that everything on the menu is made from scratch, natural or organic, and sourced from ethical ranches and fisheries. Todd Plummer, Vogue, "Hard to Get to, Harder to Leave: Why Revelstoke, B.C. Is Skiing’s Hottest Destination Right Now," 22 Feb. 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

14 Apr 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

Comments on source

What made you want to look up source? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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