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origin - definition and synonyms


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noun origin pronunciation in British English /ˈɒrɪdʒɪn/
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  1. 1




    [countable] the place or moment where something begins to exist
    origin of:

    Meteorites may hold clues about the origin of life on Earth.

    origin in:

    The country’s constitution had its origins in Roman law.

    something owes its origin to someone/something:

    The collection owes its origin to an anonymous donation of drawings.

    trace your origins (=follow the history of your development):

    The college can trace its origins back to the 18th century.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] [often plural] the country, race, or social situation that someone comes from

    She tries to hide her upper-class origins, but her accent gives her away.

    humble origins:

    Despite his humble origins, Steen went on to become a Member of Parliament.

    ethnic/racial origin:

    All the children will be treated equally, regardless of ethnic origin.

  3. 3
    [singular] maths the point on a graph where the x-axis meets the y-axis, where the value is zero

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

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an electric skateboard

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