- Also called pipe organ. a musical instrument consisting of one or more sets of pipes sounded by means of compressed air, played by means of one or more keyboards, and capable of producing a wide range of musical effects.
- any of various similar instruments, as a reed organ or an electronic organ.
- a barrel organ or hand organ.
- Biology. a grouping of tissues into a distinct structure, as a heart or kidney in animals or a leaf or stamen in plants, that performs a specialized task.
- a newspaper, magazine, or other means of communicating information, thoughts, or opinions, especially in behalf of some organization, political group, or the like.
- an instrument or means, as of action or performance: This committee will be the chief organ of administration.
- Archaic. any of various musical instruments, especially wind, instruments.
Origin of organ
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for organs
There are conditions where the heart and many other organs are functioning relatively well, but the brain is very ill.What It’s Like to Wake Up Dead
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad
November 21, 2014
During the time of the pharaohs, such funerary vessels were used to store the organs of the deceased.7 Historically Significant Artifacts Rescued by Happenstance
The Daily Beast
October 24, 2014
The Wonder theaters were all built around the same time, and parts for the organs were shipped out as they became available.How to Save Silent Movies: Inside New Jersey’s Cinema Paradiso
October 2, 2014
Reports describe a gruesome scene of “almost unspeakable horror” with “bodies everywhere, organs splayed out.”Latest News on Malaysian Airliner Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine
The Daily Beast
July 17, 2014
Plaster and ceramic replicas of organs and appendages rest on the shelves alongside sets of false teeth.The Sacrificial Limbs of New Orleans
March 12, 2014
The candles had grown paler, and the noises of the street were drowned in the music of the organs.The Dream
These organs may be invisible in the field of the microscope, but that is no proof that they do not exist.Life: Its True Genesis
R. W. Wright
It has no organs of sight as I know them, but I feel that it can see me.There is a Reaper ...
Charles V. De Vet
The organs of treason and of infamy refer always to McClellan.Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863
These are termed "organs," and the whole together is called "organic."The Present Condition of Organic Nature
Thomas H. Huxley
- Also called: pipe organa large complex musical keyboard instrument in which sound is produced by means of a number of pipes arranged in sets or stops, supplied with air from a bellows. The largest instruments possess three or more manuals and one pedal keyboard and have the greatest range of any instrument
- (as modifier)organ pipe; organ stop; organ loft
- any instrument, such as a harmonium, in which sound is produced in this waySee also reed organ, harmonica
- short for electric organ (def. 1a), electronic organ
- a fully differentiated structural and functional unit, such as a kidney or a root, in an animal or plant
- an agency or medium of communication, esp a periodical issued by a specialist group or party
- an instrument with which something is done or accomplished
- a euphemistic word for penis
Word Origin and History for organs
fusion of late Old English organe, and Old French orgene (12c.), both meaning "musical instrument," both from Latin organa, plural of organum "a musical instrument," from Greek organon "implement, tool for making or doing; musical instrument; organ of sense, organ of the body," literally "that with which one works," from PIE *werg-ano-, from root *werg- "to do," related to Greek ergon "work" and Old English weorc (see urge (v.)).
Applied vaguely in late Old English to musical instruments; sense narrowed by late 14c. to the musical instrument now known by that name (involving pipes supplied with wind by a bellows and worked by means of keys), though Augustine (c.400) knew this as a specific sense of Latin organa. The meaning "body part adapted to a certain function" is attested from late 14c., from a Medieval Latin sense of Latin organum. Organist is first recorded 1590s; organ-grinder is attested from 1806.
- A differentiated part of the body that performs a specific function.
- A distinct part of an organism that performs one or more specialized functions. Examples of organs are the eyes, ears, lungs, and heart of an animal, and the roots, stems, and leaves of a plant.