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as in headwater
the beginning part of a stream 19th-century explorers who sought the source of the Nile

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in reference
something mentioned in a text as providing related and especially supporting information the professor asked the students to have at least five different sources for their papers

Synonyms & Similar Words


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Synonym Chooser

How is the word source distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of source are inception, origin, and root. While all these words mean "the point at which something begins its course or existence," source applies more often to the point where something springs into being.

the source of the Nile
the source of recurrent trouble

When is inception a more appropriate choice than source?

While in some cases nearly identical to source, inception stresses the beginning of something without implying causes.

the business has been a success since its inception

When is it sensible to use origin instead of source?

The words origin and source are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

When can root be used instead of source?

While the synonyms root and source are close in meaning, root suggests a first, ultimate, or fundamental source often not easily discerned.

the real root of the violence

Thesaurus Entries Near source

Cite this Entry

“Source.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on source

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