\ 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 to figure out if there were clever or sneaky ways to extract data from unlikely sources. Time Staff, Time, "The Science Behind TIME's New Apollo 11 Moon Landing Augmented Reality Experience," 18 July 2019 Relationship experts say that the trend could also be attributed to a man's need to be approved and validated from outside sources, among other circumstances. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Rise of the 'Wife Guy': Men who post about their partners at the center of a viral trend," 18 July 2019 How much did American society pay, in the undermining of its Democratic process, in return for allowing it to push disinformation, including some originated from Russian sources, to unsuspecting online viewers? Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: If a $5-billion fine won’t shake Facebook, what can bring it to heel?," 18 July 2019 The law will require utilities to get 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Washington Post, "New York’s climate plan will drive big changes, if it works," 18 July 2019 Federal defendants like Epstein have a right to bail which flows from two legal sources. Danny Cevallos, NBC News, "Is Jeffrey Epstein so rich he's not a flight risk?," 18 July 2019 Nine horses died during Golden Gate Fields’ winter-spring season — two reportedly were trained by Hollendorfer, although only one could be verified from multiple sources by The Chronicle. Larry Stumes,, "Judge denies Hollendorfer request, postpones decision on ban," 18 July 2019 Democrat Hiral Tipirneni raised $440,000 from all sources and finished the quarter with $445,000 in cash. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Is Rep. David Schweikert vulnerable? His campaign recently spent more than it took in," 16 July 2019 The center uses funds from another source to buy and distribute clean needles to people who inject fentanyl and other drugs, which the federal government is prohibited from paying for. Abby Goodnough, New York Times, "States Are Making Progress on Opioids. Now the Money That’s Helping Them May Dry Up," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Still, based on what recruits have said, who the staff watched and information sourced from within the program, here’s a best guess at U-M’s current 2020 recruiting board. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball 2020 recruiting board: These are U-M's targets for next year," 16 July 2019 When Alexa users ask how to treat a migraine headache, or for the symptoms of the chickenpox, the device will respond with answers sourced from the NHS website. Michael Scaturro, CNN, "Amazon's Alexa will now give Brits health advice," 10 July 2019 Eco-friendliness: Paving stones, sourced from quarries around the world, can be relatively eco-friendly. Daniel Bortz, Washington Post, "The pros and cons of 6 driveway materials," 3 July 2019 The Ras Laffan Industrial City plant will use ethane as a feedstock sourced from a Qatar Petroleum oilfield. Marissa Luck, Houston Chronicle, "Chevron Phillips Chemical partners on new Qatar petrochemical complex," 24 June 2019 And as After’s success in jumping from Wattpad to screen shows, stories sourced from Wattpad already have what everyone in entertainment wants: an audience. Elena Nicolaou,, "How To Write A Book On Your Phone & Get 1 Billion Readers & A Movie Deal," 15 June 2019 Everything is made from scratch, often using ingredients sourced from Mexico such as huitlacoche, a Mexican corn truffle. Ava Garcia, azcentral, "Agave del Scottsdale is open now. Here's what to expect on the Mexico City-style menu," 12 June 2019 Every technology product is a global effort, with designs, software, and hardware sourced from around the world. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Huawei’s export ban is wider in scope than most people imagine," 10 June 2019 The city council’s vote directed law enforcement to cease investigating and prosecuting individuals for using or possessing drugs sourced from plants, cacti and – most commonly – mushrooms that contain the hallucinogen psilocybin. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Oakland, Calif. legalizes magic mushrooms and peyote," 5 June 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

21 Jul 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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