\ 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

The school will pay for the boy's scholarship with money from other sources, the statement said. David Williams, CNN, "Tennessee gives scholarship to boy bullied for his homemade T-shirt and welcomes him to the Class of 2032," 12 Sep. 2019 Many of the songs that early hillbilly artists played were likewise inherited and adapted from black sources — like slave spirituals, field songs, religious hymnals or the works of professional black songwriters. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Black Artists Built Country Music—And Then It Left Them Behind," 11 Sep. 2019 Attend seminars on a range of topics—from renewable energy sources to engineering microscopic robots—and participate in related experiments. National Geographic, "Engineering and Robotics on the MIT Campus," 10 Sep. 2019 Those can include seemingly innocuous things such as long-term exposure to pet birds or to wood dust from woodworking, or more obvious exposure to smoke, chemicals and debris from industrial sources. Cindy Dampier,, "Deaths of 9/11 first responders from Ground Zero-related illnesses are on the rise — diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis are just beginning to take their toll," 10 Sep. 2019 Making wise choices for the city requires thoughtful input from many sources and that starts with communicating with residents. Bob Sandrick,, "Each of Strongsville’s four ward council members to face challengers Nov. 5; early voting starts Oct. 8," 10 Sep. 2019 Brennan sent reports from the source to the president and a small group of top national security aides in a separate, white envelope to assure its security, the Times reported. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, "Possible Russian spy for CIA now living in Washington area," 10 Sep. 2019 Renewables, gas and the climate crisis Los Angeles already gets about one-third of its electricity from renewable sources. Los Angeles Times, "Los Angeles OKs a deal for record-cheap solar power and battery storage," 10 Sep. 2019 Police collected evidence from eight different video sources in an effort to follow the red Toyota Tacoma that investigators suspect Fotis Dulos drove to New Canaan the morning that his estranged wife, Jennifer Farber Dulos, disappeared. Dave Altimari,, "Timeline: How state police used video to track a truck they believe Fotis Dulos was driving the day Jennifer Farber Dulos went missing," 9 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

From the creative comfort food menu, anything featuring whitefish, sourced from nearby Thill’s Fish House, is a sure bet. Layla Khoury-hanold,, "Fresh Marquette: Outdoor sports haven in Michigan’s U.P. serves up booming culinary scene," 28 Aug. 2019 This is our lineup of noxious ingredients naturally sourced from the hideous earth. Kiki O’keeffe Ysabel Yates, The New Yorker, "The All-Natural Ingredients in Our Disgusting Skin-Care Line," 22 Aug. 2019 More bets would mean more ideas sourced from the broader population, and more shared rewards and innovation. Aimee Groth, Quartz, "Andrew Yang’s basic income plan permits Americans to fail. And that’s a good thing," 20 Aug. 2019 The company handles millions of hides a year, sourced from small to medium-size beef processors. Los Angeles Times, "America is obsessed with beef. But it has no use for hides, so leather prices plunge," 19 Aug. 2019 But also take that as a testament to the quality of the standard house beef sourced from Bolner’s Meat Co. Chuck Blount,, "52 Weeks of Burgers: Burger Culture," 9 Aug. 2019 Topics and questions sourced entirely from voters, which could be gathered in advance. Margaret Sullivan, The Denver Post, "Sullivan: Debate format is an embarrassment. Here’s how to make it better.," 31 July 2019 Rosie Cannonball will be a casual bistro serving rustic pastas made with ingredients sourced from Goodnight Hospitality's farm, which is just outside of Houston. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "See which restaurant groups own Houston's most popular dining establishments," 29 July 2019 As the sun dips below the horizon, the fire pits are lit and families happily tuck into seafood sourced from the bay along with local Balinese produce. Desserts are made in house by award-winning pastry chef Yusuke Aoki. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "The world’s best waterfront restaurants promise more than a view," 23 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

15 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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