1. An instrument or medium by which some important action is performed, or an important end accomplished; as, legislatures, courts, armies, taxgatherers, etc, are organs of government.

2. <biology> 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; as, the heart, lungs, etc, are organs of animals; the root, stem, foliage, etc, are organs of plants.

In animals the organs are generally made up of several tissues, one of which usually predominates, and determines the principal function of the organ. Groups of organs constitute a system. See System.

3. A component part performing an essential office in the working of any complex machine; as, the cylinder, valves, crank, etc, are organs of the steam engine.

4. A medium of communication between one person or body and another; as, the secretary of state is the organ of communication between the government and a foreign power; a newspaper is the organ of its editor, or of a party, sect, etc.

5. [Cf. AS. Organ, fr. L. Organum.

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 considired an organ. "The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow." (Pope)

Chaucer used the form orgon as a plural. "The merry orgon . . . That in the church goon [go]" Barrel organ, Choir organ, Great organ, etc. See Barrel, Choir, etc.

<anatomy> Cabinet organ, a passage in which the tonic or dominant is sustained continuously by one part, while the other parts move.

Origin: L. Organum, Gr.; akin to work, and E. Work: cf. F. Organe. See Work, and cf. Orgue, Orgy.

(01 Mar 1998)

orfe, orfray, orf virus, org, orgal < Prev | Next > organa, organa genitalia

Bookmark with: icon icon icon icon iconword visualiser Go and visit our forums Community Forums