from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An instrument consisting of a number of pipes that sound tones when supplied with air and a keyboard that operates a mechanism controlling the flow of air to the pipes.
  • noun Any one of various other instruments, such as the electronic organ, that resemble a pipe organ either in mechanism or sound.
  • noun Biology A differentiated part of an organism, such as an eye, wing, or leaf, that performs a specific function.
  • noun An instrument or agency dedicated to the performance of specified functions.
  • noun An instrument or means of communication, especially a periodical issued by a political party, business firm, or other group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To furnish with organs; organize.
  • noun Same as origan.
  • noun An instrument or means; that which performs some office, duty, or function; that by which some action is performed or end accomplished.
  • noun A medium, instrument, or means of communication between one person or body of persons and another; a medium of conveying certain opinions: as, a secretary of state is the organ of communication between the government and a foreign power; an official gazette is the organ of a government; hence, specifically, a newspaper which serves as the mouthpiece of a particular party, faction, cause, denomination, or person: as, a Republican organ; a party organ.
  • noun In biology, one of the parts or members of an organized body, as an animal or a plant, which has some specific function, by means of which some vital activity is manifested or some vital process is carried on: as, the organs of digestion, circulation, respiration, reproduction, locomotion; the organ of vision or of hearing; the vocal organs.
  • noun The vocal organs collectively; the voice: now rare except in a somewhat technical or cant application with reference to the musical use of the voice.
  • noun In phrenology, any part of the brain supposed to have a particular office or function in determining the character of the individual, and to be indicated by one of the areas of cerebral surface recognized by phrenologists: as, the organ of acquisitiveness, of alimentiveness, of inhabitiveness, etc.
  • noun The largest, the most complicated, and the noblest of musical instruments, consisting of one or many sets of pipes sounded by means of compressed air, the whole instrument being under the control of a single player; a pipe-organ, as distinguished from a reed-organ.
  • noun One of the independent groups of stops of which a pipe-organ is made up; a partial organ, such as the great organ, the swell-organ, etc., described above.
  • noun A harmonium or reed-organ.
  • noun Some other musical instrument, as a pipe or harp.
  • noun A pipe-organ the action of which is manipulated with the help of electricity.
  • noun Same as choir-organ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An instrument or medium by which some important action is performed, or an important end accomplished.
  • noun (Biol.) A natural part or structure in an animal or a plant, capable of performing some special action (termed its function), which is essential to the life or well-being of the whole.
  • noun A component part performing an essential office in the working of any complex machine.
  • noun A medium of communication between one person or body and another; A newsletter distributed within an organization is often called its house organ.
  • noun (Mus.) A wind instrument containing numerous pipes of various dimensions and kinds, which are filled with wind from a bellows, and played upon by means of keys similar to those of a piano, and sometimes by foot keys or pedals; -- formerly used in the plural, each pipe being considered an organ.
  • noun etc. See under Barrel, Choir, etc.
  • noun (Mus.) an organ of small size, as for a chapel or for domestic use; a reed organ.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a Tasmanian crow shrike (Gymnorhina organicum). It utters discordant notes like those of a hand organ out of tune.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the drumfish.
  • noun (Mil.) Same as Orgue (b).
  • noun (Mus.) an harmonium of large capacity and power.
  • noun (Anat.) a complicated structure in the cochlea of the ear, including the auditory hair cells, the rods or fibers of Corti, the membrane of Corti, etc. See Note under Ear.
  • noun See Pipe, n., 1.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Tubipora.
  • noun (Mus.) a passage in which the tonic or dominant is sustained continuously by one part, while the other parts move.
  • transitive verb obsolete To supply with an organ or organs; to fit with organs; to organize.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A largest part of an organism, composed of tissues that perform similar functions.
  • noun by extension A body of an organization dedicated to the performing of certain functions.
  • noun music A musical instrument that has multiple pipes which play when a key is pressed, or an electronic instrument designed to replicate such.
  • noun An official magazine, newsletter, or similar publication of an organization.
  • noun A species of cactus (Stenocereus thurberi)
  • noun slang The penis.
  • verb obsolete, transitive To supply with an organ or organs; to fit with organs.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a fully differentiated structural and functional unit in an animal that is specialized for some particular function
  • noun wind instrument whose sound is produced by means of pipes arranged in sets supplied with air from a bellows and controlled from a large complex musical keyboard
  • noun a free-reed instrument in which air is forced through the reeds by bellows
  • noun a government agency or instrument devoted to the performance of some specific function
  • noun (music) an electronic simulation of a pipe organ
  • noun a periodical that is published by a special interest group


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French organe and from Old English organe, both from Latin organum, tool, instrument, from Greek organon; see werg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin organum, from Ancient Greek ὄργανον (organon, "an instrument, implement, tool, also an organ of sense or apprehension, an organ of the body, also a musical instrument, an organ"), from *ἔργειν (ergein, "to work").


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  • The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired; it does not interrupt any vital function, nor does it destroy the power of generation.

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  • The organ is treated as a liturgical voice, taking up the reprise of the antiphon after each of the five psalms, and basing its improvisation on the melody of the original chant of the antiphon: canon, chorale etc,.

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  • However, church music, despite a late-flowering interest in organ music, did not figure greatly in his output as a composer.

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