\ 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 With dozens of Leblanc’s stories at their disposal, Netflix’s Lupin has plenty of source material to work with for episodes—or seasons—to come. Annabel Gutterman, Time, 11 June 2021 It’s no wonder Cray Rich Asians clicked, considering the source material. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, 11 June 2021 According to another source with Us Weekly, Kim Kardashian is supportive of the new romance, which is flourishing only four months after Kardashian filed for divorce. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 10 June 2021 At this point, legislative affairs staffers are the only Justice Department staff who have communicated with the Intelligence Committee, according to the committee source. CNN, 10 June 2021 The plan would spend $974 billion over five years – or $1.2 trillion over eight years – with $579 billion in new spending beyond what has already been appropriated, according to a source familiar with the framework. Andrew Solender, Forbes, 10 June 2021 The severity of Newton’s injury is unknown, but, according to a league source, post-practice tests revealed no breaks in his hand., 10 June 2021 The movie isn’t a re-creation of its source material but a spectacle that makes a few New York blocks feel like a universe. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 9 June 2021 Three people who were out fishing around 7:15 a.m. spotted the body several miles off shore east of Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G., according to a law enforcement source. Stephanie Casanova,, 8 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The pristine setting of Yellowstone National Park provided an opportunity to source samples from living and downed trees dating back 1,250 years. David Bressan, Forbes, 21 May 2021 No major mining accident has occurred in Alaska, yet the U.S. continues to source its minerals from the Congo, South Africa and China while Washington regulators deny permits to projects on state of Alaska lands designated for mining. Mike Dunleavy, WSJ, 30 Apr. 2021 Nepal recorded 4,897 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, a surge in cases that's forcing the government to source 20,000 extra oxygen cylinders from abroad to cope with the country’s limited supply. James Griffiths, CNN, 29 Apr. 2021 On top of the usual provisions -- food, clean water, sanitary systems and beds -- the agency now has to source enough personal protective equipment to keep the shelters safe. Ibrahim Dahman, Abeer Salman And Angela Dewan, CNN, 20 May 2021 Accounting for 9% of gross domestic product in the EU and supplying almost 13 million direct jobs, construction companies are now scrambling to source more gravel, sand and gypsum locally to avoid expensive imports. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 18 May 2021 Widespread perception of China’s involvement in IP theft, along with China’s increased involvement within Taiwan is likely to lead customers to source chips elsewhere. David Trainer, Forbes, 11 May 2021 Doctors here say the need for patients to source their care privately, or to purchase their own medical supplies for use in bare-bones public hospitals, is leaving untold numbers of poor Venezuelans to die during the pandemic. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2021 Indeed, the rise of digital platforms now enables firms and recruiters to source potential candidates anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes. Hbs Working Knowledge, Forbes, 7 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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

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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Time Traveler for source

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Source.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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