Synonym Chooser

How is the word origin distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of origin are inception, root, and source. While all these words 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

In what contexts can inception take the place of origin?

Although the words inception and origin have much in common, inception stresses the beginning of something without implying causes.

the business has been a success since its inception

When might root be a better fit than origin?

While in some cases nearly identical to origin, root suggests a first, ultimate, or fundamental source often not easily discerned.

the real root of the violence

When is source a more appropriate choice than origin?

The meanings of source and origin largely overlap; however, source applies more often to the point where something springs into being.

the source of the Nile
the source of recurrent trouble

Thesaurus Entries Near origin

Cite this Entry

“Origin.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/origin. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on origin

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