General English


  • noun a part of an organism that is distinct from other parts and has a particular function, e.g. an eye or a flower

Media Studies

  • noun a newspaper or magazine regarded as a means of communicating the views of a particular group such as a political party


  • noun a part of the body which is distinct from other parts and has a particular function, e.g. the liver, an eye or ovaries


  • noun an organisation that is responsible on behalf of a larger institution for a particular job
  • noun the newspaper, magazine or other regular publication of a particular organisation, which gives official information

Origin & History of “organ”

Greek órganon meant ‘tool, implement, instrument’. It was a descendant of the Indo-European base *worg- (source also of English work). Latin took the word over as organum, and in the post-classical period applied it to ‘musical instruments’. At first it was a very general term, but gradually it narrowed down to ‘wind instrument’, and in ecclesiastical Latin it came to be used for a musical instrument made from a number of pipes. when English acquired it, via Old French organe, it was in the intermediate sense ‘wind instrument’ (in the 1611 translation of psalm 150, ‘Praise him with stringed instruments and organs’, organ still means ‘pipe’), but by the end of the 17th century this had died out. The sense ‘functional part of the body’ goes right back to the word’s Greek source.

The derivative organize (15th c.) comes via Old French from medieval Latin organizāre. This originally denoted literally ‘furnish with organs so as to form into a living being’, and hence ‘provide with a co-ordinated structure’.