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

  • n. The point at which something comes into existence or from which it derives or is derived.
  • n. Ancestry: "We cannot escape our origins, however hard we try” ( James Baldwin).
  • n. The fact of originating; rise or derivation: The rumor had its origin in an impulsive remark.
  • n. Anatomy The point of attachment of a muscle that remains relatively fixed during contraction.
  • n. Mathematics The point of intersection of coordinate axes, as in the Cartesian coordinate system.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The beginning of something.
  • n. The source of a river, information, goods, etc.
  • n. The point at which the axes of a coordinate system intersect
  • n. The proximal end of attachment of a muscle to a bone that will not be moved by the action of that muscle.
  • n. an arbitrary point on the earth's surface, chosen as the zero for a system of coordinates.
  • n. ancestry

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The first existence or beginning of anything; the birth.
  • n. That from which anything primarily proceeds; the fountain; the spring; the cause; the occasion.
  • n. The point of attachment or end of a muscle which is fixed during contraction; -- in contradistinction to insertion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give rise to; originate; initiate.
  • To arise; originate.
  • n. Beginning of existence; rise or first manifestation; first stage or indication of being or existence.
  • n. That from which anything derives its being or nature; source of being or existence; cause or occasion; fountain; source: as, the origins of a nation.
  • n. Hence, parentage; ancestry; pedigree; extraction; birth.
  • n. In mathematics, the fixed starting-point from which measurement or motion starts; specifically, in analytical geometry, the point from which the coördinates are measured.
  • n. In anatomy: The proximal, larger, or more fixed one of the two ends or attachments of a muscle; the part or place whence a muscle usually acts: opposed to insertion.

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

  • n. the place where something begins, where it springs into being
  • n. the point of intersection of coordinate axes; where the values of the coordinates are all zero
  • n. the descendants of one individual
  • n. an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events
  • n. properties attributable to your ancestry
  • n. the source of something's existence or from which it derives or is derived


Middle English origine, ancestry, from Latin orīgō, orīgin-, from orīrī, to arise, be born; see er-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English origine, from Latin origo ("beginning, source, birth, origin"), from oriri ("to rise"); see orient. (Wiktionary)



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