1. The first existence or beginning of anything; the birth. "This mixed system of opinion and sentiment had its origin in the ancient chivalry." (Burke)

2. That from which anything primarily proceeds; the fountain; the spring; the cause; the occasion.

3. <anatomy> The point of attachment or end of a muscle which is fixed during contraction; in contradistinction to insertion.

<mathematics> Origin of coordinate axes, the point where the axes intersect. See Note under Ordinate.

Synonyms: Commencement, rise, source, spring, fountain, derivation, cause, root, foundation.

Origin, Source. Origin denotes the rise or commencement of a thing; source presents itself under the image of a fountain flowing forth in a continuous stream of influences. The origin of moral evil has been much disputed, but no one can doubt that it is the source of most of the calamities of our race. "I think he would have set out just as he did, with the origin of ideas the proper starting point of a grammarian, who is to treat of their signs." (Tooke) "Famous Greece, That source of art and cultivated thought Which they to Rome, and Romans hither, brought." (Waller)

Origin: F. Origine, L. Origo, -iginis, fr. Oriri to rise, become visible; akin to Gr. To stir up, rouse, Skr. R, and perh. To E. Run.

(01 Mar 1998)