Definition of source in English:

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Pronunciation: /sôrs/


1A place, person, or thing from which something comes or can be obtained: mackerel is a good source of fish oil
More example sentences
  • Fish is a key source of omega 3 oils which have health benefits particularly for the heart.
  • These products are obtained from fairly traded sources, where producers are paid a fair price that covers production costs and a basic living wage.
  • Best results will be obtained when two protein sources are used in combination.
origin, birthplace, spring, fountainhead, fount, starting point, ground zero;
history, provenance, derivation, root, beginning, genesis, start, rise;
author, originator, initiator, inventor
1.1A spring or fountainhead from which a river or stream issues: the source of the Nile
More example sentences
  • We could follow the entire sweep of the river, from the lower meanders upwards to the source of the tiny stream high in the glaciated peaks of the cordillera.
  • They have issued a five-point plan for managing rivers from source to estuary in an integrated and sustainable way.
  • The terrace is watered by one of the sources of the River Jordan, a spring from a cool cave.
spring, origin, headspring, headwater(s)
literary wellspring
1.2A person who provides information: military sources announced a reduction in strategic nuclear weapons
More example sentences
  • Beaver, who says he was passed the information by reliable military sources, says the equipment simply did not arrive in time.
  • It was also alleged that he had been asked to provide information from police sources by senior activists.
  • I had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the story or the information provided by my sources.
1.3A book or document used to provide evidence in research.
Example sentences
  • A new emphasis will be placed on using primary documents as the source for research and discussion.
  • While researching a book, Barker goes straight to primary sources, favouring public records, diaries, letters.
  • These estimates are based on a massive and meticulous use of primary and secondary sources that are well documented in the volume.
reference, authority, material, document, informant
1.4 technical A body or process by which energy or a particular component enters a system. The opposite of sink2.
1.5 Electronics A part of a field-effect transistor from which carriers flow into the inter-electrode channel.
Example sentences
  • In one embodiment, the output of the buffer is at the source of the input transistor.


[with object]
1Obtain from a particular source: each type of coffee is sourced from one country
More example sentences
  • The shop sources some of its most sought after items from remote villages across the South.
  • All purchased forage and bedding should be sourced from suppliers operating to recognised quality control standards.
  • Medication had to be sourced from district health facilities, private nursing homes and pharmacies for newborns.
1.1Find out where (something) can be obtained: she was called upon to source a supply of carpet
More example sentences
  • They all have complex supply chains, sourcing materials from across the industry and making them vulnerable to the big drug companies.
  • I use my e-mail nearly as much as the phone now and I find the internet a great tool for sourcing information for our shows.
  • It would be a great help if they could source a regular supply.


at source

chiefly British At the point of origin or issue: reduction of pollution at source
More example sentences
  • By preventing pollution at source, conserving water and restoring valuable nutrients to nature's lifecycle, the WCT's virtues are attracting converts around the world.
  • While industrial pollution can be controlled at source, automobile emissions can become uncontrollable.
  • The reduction of refuse at source is vital and the council must challenge those responsible to achieve acceptable levels.
1.1Used to show that an amount is deducted from earnings or other payments before they are made: your pension contribution will be deducted at source
More example sentences
  • Mortgage interest relief has gone and non-taxpayers can no longer reclaim the tax deducted at source on dividend payments on shares or unit trusts.
  • The landlord is then entitled to claim a credit for the income tax deducted at source from the rental income.
  • However, anyone with benefits or other sources of income, for example bank interest or dividend income, is likely to have additional tax to pay as any tax deducted at source is unlikely to cover the full tax liability.



Example sentences
  • The lady's features were illuminated by the sourceless light.
  • Yet, the room has a pleasant quality to it also: a sourceless radiance that makes the temperature outside a distant memory.
  • As an unreported case, it enters law as a ghostly, sourceless illustration of circumstances that law will not recognize.


Late Middle English: from Old French sours(e), past participle of sourdre 'to rise', from Latin surgere.

  • fountain from Middle English:

    A fountain was originally used to mean a natural spring of water rather than an artificial one, and comes from Latin fontana ‘spring’. Fount ‘source’ (the French for ‘spring’, in English from the Late Middle Ages) was formed in English in the late 16th century. The baptismal font (Old English) comes from the same root, although the printing font (late 16th century), made from melted and cast metal, comes from fondre ( see found).

Words that rhyme with source

coarse, corse, course, divorce, endorse (US indorse), enforce, force, gorse, hoarse, horse, morse, Norse, perforce, reinforce, sauce, torse

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: source

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