\ 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

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 Boehmig also claims Ironclad can contribute to legal departments' bottom lines by using a company's collection of contracts as a source of business intelligence. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Ironclad, the ‘Salesforce for Lawyers,’ Raises $50 Million," 17 Sep. 2019 The agency has advised against using e-cigarettes and vaping devices, especially those bought off the street, as investigators have so far been unable to pinpoint any single product, ingredient or device as the source of the illnesses. Erika Edwards, NBC News, "7th person has died from vaping-related lung illness," 17 Sep. 2019 Salmon are a keystone species in this region, critical as a food source for animals from bears to eagles to insects. Jim Robbins, New York Times, "How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’," 16 Sep. 2019 While the witch doctor is depicted as a positive source of African wisdom, energy and healing, Fontenaille’s black magic is dismissed as a dangerous colonial import. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Our Lady of the Nile' ('Notre-Dame du Nil'): Film Review | TIFF 2019," 14 Sep. 2019 Not everyone, however, perceives clowns as source of joy. Washington Post, "He thought he might lose his job. So he brought an emotional support clown to work.," 14 Sep. 2019 Think of it as a steady source of talent in its own right, in the form of students, faculty, and guests in orchestral, chamber, and vocal groups active all over town. Zachary Lewis,, "Don’t be bored! Cleveland teems with vocal, chamber, and orchestral music in 2019-20," 13 Sep. 2019 Not everyone, however, perceives clowns as source of joy. oregonlive, "New Zealand worker feared he might lose his job. So he brought an emotional support clown to work.," 13 Sep. 2019 Landowners would have no incentive to plant milkweed, which the species relies on exclusively to lay eggs and as a food source for its caterpillars. Shawn Regan, National Review, "The New Endangered-Species Regulations Are Good for Species," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Made out of cashmere that's sourced from Mongolia, Everlane's material is durable and gets softer with age. Kelsey Mulvey, Marie Claire, "Everlane's Cashmere Sale Is the Perfect Excuse to Stock Up on Sweaters," 4 Nov. 2019 The fabric of the look was fully sourced from Collina Strada; Melnychuk has walked for the brand in the past and is friends with designer Hillary Taymour. Vogue, "This New York Model Is Already Delivering Halloween’s Craziest Costume," 31 Oct. 2019 Unlike in Europe, for example, where recyclable plastic is often collected directly from homes, in South Africa, 70 percent is sourced from landfill. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "This company is using recycled plastic milk bottles to repave roads in South Africa," 30 Oct. 2019 Much of the material to build out the café, including its tables, flooring and furnishings, and the labor to build them has been locally sourced, Akchin said. Taylor Deville,, "UMBC’s OCA Mocha coffee shop in Arbutus to open Nov. 4," 24 Oct. 2019 And yes, the waffles are actually sourced from Belgium, Ingram told The Republic. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "The world's largest White Castle — and first in Arizona — is now open near Scottsdale," 23 Oct. 2019 The recipes are generated by the volunteers as well as the nuns, and many of the ingredients are sourced locally or grown on-site. Soleil Ho,, "Where do you find amazing vegan Vietnamese food in the Bay Area? Look for this Buddhist temple in East Palo Alto," 11 Oct. 2019 Many people, however, don't know that the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic humans have produced over the years are sourced partially from the distillation of crude oil, a process that can release harmful pollutants into the air and water. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Sustainability Is Bipartisan —Until It Comes to Oil, Survey Finds," 24 Sep. 2019 Avocado toast is made with local avocados, and the salmon for the bagels is locally sourced and house smoked. Georgeanne Brennan, The Mercury News, "Weekend getaway: Morro Bay adventures, from ocean to table," 15 Sep. 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

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for source

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

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More Definitions for source


How to pronounce source (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for source

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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