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

  • adjective Of, relating to, or derived from living organisms.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or affecting a bodily organ.
  • adjective Of, marked by, or involving the use of fertilizers or pesticides that are strictly of animal or vegetable origin.
  • adjective Raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals.
  • adjective Serving organic food.
  • adjective Simple, healthful, and close to nature.
  • adjective Having properties associated with living organisms.
  • adjective Resembling a living organism in organization or development; interconnected.
  • adjective Constituting an integral part of a whole; fundamental.
  • adjective Law Denoting or relating to the fundamental or constitutional laws and precepts of a government or an organization.
  • adjective Chemistry Of or designating carbon compounds.
  • noun An organic food or a product made from organic materials.
  • noun A substance, especially a fertilizer or pesticide, of animal or vegetable origin.
  • noun Chemistry An organic compound.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Applied to the substances which form the chemical material of the bodies of plants and animals, as also to numerous other substances of more or less analogous chemical character. But such material may or may not possess the special mechanical structure to which the term organized is applied, adapting it to the performance of the vital functions of plants or animals. The distinction between the two words is important. Organic substances may be produced from inanimate materials by laboratory processes, but organized structnre is thus far only known as a result of change in a living plant or animal.
  • Acting as an instrument, of nature or art, to a certain end; serving as an organ or means; instrumental.
  • Pertaining to or characteristic of an organ or the organs of animals and plants.
  • Pertaining to objects that have organs; hence, pertaining to the animal and vegetable worlds; resulting from, or exhibiting characteristics peculiar to, animal or vegetable life and structure; organized. See inorganic.
  • In chem., formerly used in the same sense as 3 (see also quotation under 3), but at present denoting any compound substance or radical containing carbon. See chemistry and inorganic.
  • Forming a whole with a systematic arrangement or coördination of parts; organized; also, systematized; systematic.
  • In philology, depending on or determined by structure; not secondary or fortuitous.
  • Organizing; constituting; formative; constitutive.
  • In music, noting a composition in harmony or intended for instruments.
  • noun The science of the instruments of thought, such as induction, syllogism, and the like.

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

  • adjective (Biol.) Of or pertaining to an organ or its functions, or to objects composed of organs; consisting of organs, or containing them; ; exhibiting characters peculiar to living organisms. Cf. inorganic.
  • adjective rare Produced by the organs.
  • adjective rare Instrumental; acting as instruments of nature or of art to a certain destined function or end.
  • adjective Forming a whole composed of organs.
  • adjective (Chem.) Of or pertaining to compounds which are derivatives of hydrocarbons; pertaining to, or denoting, any one of a large series of carbon-containing compounds which are related to the carbon compounds produced by biological processes (such as methane, oils, fats, sugars, alcohols, ethers, proteins, etc.) and include many substances of artificial production which may or may not occur in animals or plants; -- contrasted with inorganic.
  • adjective (Chem.) the analysis of organic compounds, concerned chiefly with the determination of carbon as carbon dioxide, hydrogen as water, oxygen as the difference between the sum of the others and 100 per cent, and nitrogen as free nitrogen, ammonia, or nitric oxide; -- formerly called ultimate analysis, in distinction from proximate analysis.
  • adjective See under Chemistry.
  • adjective (Chem.) Chemical substances which are organic{5}. See Carbon compounds, under Carbon.
  • adjective (Geom.) the description of a curve on a plane by means of instruments.
  • adjective (Med.) a disease attended with morbid changes in the structure of the organs of the body or in the composition of its fluids; -- opposed to functional disease.
  • adjective See under Electricity.
  • adjective a law or system of laws, or declaration of principles fundamental to the existence and organization of a political or other association; a constitution.
  • adjective (Med.) a contraction of one of the natural passages of the body produced by structural changes in its walls, as distinguished from a spasmodic stricture, which is due to muscular contraction.

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

  • adjective biology pertaining to or derived from living organisms.
  • adjective pertaining to an organ of the body of a living organism.
  • adjective chemistry relating to the compounds of carbon, relating to natural products
  • adjective of food or food products, grown in an environment free from artificial agrichemicals, and possibly certified by a regulatory body.
  • adjective sociology describing a form of social solidarity theorized by Emile Durkheim that is characterized by voluntary engagements in complex interdepencies for mutual benefit (such as business agreements), rather than mechanical solidarity, which depends on ascribed relations between people (as in a family or tribe).
  • adjective military Of a military unit or formation, or its elements, belonging to a permanent organization (in contrast to being temporarily attached).
  • adjective Internet Generated according to the ranking algorithms of a search engine, as opposed to paid placement by advertisers.
  • noun chemistry An organic compound

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

  • adjective involving or affecting physiology or bodily organs
  • adjective of or relating to foodstuff grown or raised without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides or hormones


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  • Conversation with my flatmate.

    P: You know, organic food in Italy is called "biological".

    N: Biological? It's meaningless. All food is biological.

    P: Well, do you think that non-organic food exists?

    N: But then, how should we call it?

    P: ... Expensive?

    April 28, 2008