Definition of origin in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɒrɪdʒɪn/


1 (also origins) The point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived: his theory of the origin of life the name is Norse in origin the terminology has its origins in America
More example sentences
  • In Ireland and Great Britain, sacred wells derive their distant origins from megalithic and Celtic times.
  • The islands are volcanic in origin, having arisen from a mantle hotspot, and they have never been connected to the mainland.
  • Martial arts is a broad term that covers a variety of schools and forms whose unity derives only from their origins in the arts of war and single combat.
beginning, start, origination, genesis, birth, dawning, dawn, emergence, inception, launch, creation, birthplace, cradle, early stages, conception, inauguration, foundation, outset;
source, basis, base, cause, root, roots, spring, mainspring, well head, fountainhead, fountain, fount, head, seat, seed, germ;
Latin fons et origo
formal commencement
literary wellspring
rare radix
source, derivation, root, roots, provenance, etymology;
North American  provenience
1.1A person’s social background or ancestry: a family of peasant origin a voice that betrays his Welsh origins
More example sentences
  • Born in Dublin and sent to an orphanage, his social origins and date of birth remain obscure.
  • It took years of archeological excavation to trace the origins and ancestry of various races.
  • In terms of social origins, most came from a peasant background, reflecting their rural births.
descent, ancestry, parentage, pedigree, lineage, line, line of descent, heritage, birth, extraction, background, family, stock, blood, bloodline, genealogy, beginnings
rare filiation, stirps
2 Anatomy The more fixed end or attachment of a muscle.
Example sentences
  • It is usually placed on a level above and behind the condyloid origin of flexor carpi ulnaris.
  • It then exits the cubital tunnel by passing between the two heads of the origin of the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle.
  • The insertion of gastrocnemius is discussed following the description of the origin of the soleus muscle.
3 Mathematics A fixed point from which coordinates are measured.
Example sentences
  • Given ABC, we may assume its vertices lie on a circle centered at the origin of a Cartesian coordinate system.
  • Let u and v denote two positions on a chromosome, measured in a scale in morgan units with the coordinate origin at the target locus.
  • In fact, from the point P which is at distance d from the origin measured along a radius vector, the distance from P to the pole is d sec b.


Early 16th century: from French origine, from Latin origo, origin-, from oriri 'to rise'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ori¦gin

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.