Meaning of ORIGIN in English


ˈȯrəjə̇n, ˈär- noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English origine, probably from Middle French, from Latin origin-, origo, from oriri to rise, come forth — more at orient

1. : ancestry , parentage

was of humble origin


a. : rise, beginning, or derivation from a source

had its origin … when a tramp printer established it as a weekly — American Guide Series: Pennsylvania

b. : primary source or cause : fountain , spring

a letter found on his clothes tells us the origin of the quarrel — George Meredith

3. : the more fixed, central, or larger attachment or part of a muscle — compare insertion


a. : the intersection of the axes of Cartesian coordinates

b. : any arbitrary zero from which a magnitude is reckoned


source , inception , root , provenance , provenience , prime mover : origin applies to a person, situation, or condition that marks the beginning of a course or development, to the point at which something rises or starts, or, sometimes, to effective causes

it is probable that the origin of language is not a problem that can be solved out of the resources of linguistics alone — Edward Sapir

the exact origin of the pain is not definitely known since it might reasonably be expected to appear in any unyielding tissue or it could arise from distention of the joint cavity itself — H.G.Armstrong

found the origin of faith in an undifferentiated feeling of the Infinite and Eternal — W.R.Inge

source , often interchangeable with origin , may center attention on a point of ultimate beginning whence something rises, flows, or emanates

this mystery and meaning of freedom, sin, and grace are the perennial sources of the religious life — Reinhold Niebuhr

the source of infection was traced to the feeding to hogs of raw garbage from ships from the Orient — Americana Annual

the probable sources of civilization, roughly the three great river valleys of the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the Indus — R.W.Murray

inception stresses the notion of an initiating, starting, or beginning point without implication about causes

joining the group at its inception

tin miners, who had to bring coal from south Wales, used the Watt engine from the time of its inception — S.F.Mason

has taken part in the United States atomic energy program since its inception in 1942 — Current Biography

root may suggest a first, ultimate, or fundamental source, often one not patently evident

several of the large foundations … have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get at the root of the trouble — J.M.Barzun

provenance and provenience designate the area, sphere, or group in which something has originated or from which it is derived

any layman who is sufficiently interested in the cheese he eats to inquire about its provenance must have noticed how much a monastery background improves a cheese — New Yorker

relatively recent words of scientific provenance, e.g., appendicitis, iodine, quinine, and so on — H.L.Mencken

the African provenience of northern Negroes — M.J.Herskovits

prime mover may refer to an ultimate and original source of motive power that sets a thing moving; of personal agents it may refer to an inciter or instigator

wind as the prime mover in impelling a sailing ship

a committee on general education, in the organization of which your headmaster was a prime mover — A.W.Griswold

evidence was also obtained implicating Heath as the prime mover in the affair and immediately upon Daniel's return the former was arrested — D.D.Martin

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.