Definition of organ in US English:



  • 1A part of an organism that is typically self-contained and has a specific vital function, such as the heart or liver in humans.

    • ‘If you want to have specific organs donated, will doctors remove anything else?’
    • ‘Number two; the bones protect vital internal organs, such as the heart, the lungs, and the brain.’
    • ‘Atherosclerosis can affect the arteries of the heart, brain, kidneys, other vital organs, and the arms and legs.’
    • ‘Dr Gruer said it looks likely that the infection produces a toxin which enters the circulation and damages vital organs, including the heart.’
    • ‘In only specific organs is a biopsy recommended without there being an identifiable lump.’
    • ‘The concept that autologous bone marrow stem cells target a specific organ and replace diseased cells is particularly attractive.’
    • ‘This procedure uses artificial extracorporeal circulation to provide oxygenated blood to vital organs while the heart is stopped.’
    • ‘Currently, there are almost 85,000 people waiting in this country for vital organ transplants.’
    • ‘One must recognize that not all compounds are equally toxic to all parts of a living system because the toxic actions of many compounds are manifested in specific organs.’
    • ‘An abscess on an internal organ such as the liver or brain may be diagnosed by X-ray or scanning.’
    • ‘The examination of the internal organs is usually done under general anaesthetic by a gynaecologist.’
    • ‘Zinc helps organize cells into healthy tissues and organs so your baby has what it needs during the first weeks of pregnancy when vital organs are being developed.’
    • ‘This section reviews the literature regarding experimental models of colloid use, with particular focus on the function of specific organs.’
    • ‘It has also been noticed that the brain tends to function better in a cooler environment whereas organs like the heart function better at normal body temperature.’
    • ‘Atherosclerosis can also diminish blood flow to other vital organs, including your intestines or kidneys.’
    • ‘Whereas we are now getting used, and will increasingly get used to transplants of other vital organs below the neck.’
    • ‘Patients must be carefully monitored for fluid balance and covert internal damage to vital organs.’
    • ‘‘Specific types of cancer often metastasize to specific other organs,’ he said.’
    • ‘Dehydration can impair the function of vital organs like the kidneys, brain, and heart.’
    • ‘Once the tumor extends to or invades local organs, radiation therapy becomes the mainstay of treatment.’
    part of the body, body part, biological structure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (used euphemistically) the penis.
      • ‘It seems MacManus was inspired to write the book because of his observations on Greek sculpture and their lack of accuracy when it came to the male organ.’
      • ‘According to Van Damme, the dog represents the uncircumcised boy, the feline is the circumcised individual, and the coiled snake is the male organ.’
      • ‘I guess there might have been some serious feelings of inadequacy by some of the male viewers who came to see the sizeable organ eh?’
      • ‘And in her armchair there is a design of Ru Yi, an L-shaped jade ornament originally symbolizing the male organ.’
    2. 1.2archaic A region of the brain formerly held to be the seat of a particular faculty.
      • ‘Brain organs which were used got bigger and those which were not used shrunk, causing the skull to rise and fall with organ development.’
  • 2A large musical instrument having rows of tuned pipes sounded by compressed air, and played using one or more keyboards to produce a wide range of musical effects. The pipes are generally arranged in ranks of a particular type, each controlled by a stop, and often into larger sets linked to separate keyboards.

    • ‘In England, the sound of the organ, choirboys and a peal of bells instantly springs to mind.’
    • ‘The church was quiet except for the mournful organ and the rustling sound adults made at times like this.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the organ stopped, leaving the stonewalls to echo the last few notes.’
    • ‘The musical mainstay was the organ, played by James Vivian, who didn't stop for the two and three quarter hours of the performance, except during the recitatives.’
    • ‘The sounds of the organ and the choir used to mesmerize the faithful in those days.’
    • ‘The poor starving little church mice had chewed their way through the bellows of the church organ.’
    • ‘Twenty-seven voices and an organ are all that are needed to convey the joy and the mystery of the Christmas message.’
    • ‘As Leonora stepped into the church, her entrance was heralded by a startling blast of the church organ, an instrument which had originally been the pride of one of Westing's smaller picture palaces.’
    • ‘Other standard stops are similar to those of the organ, including 16 and 4 ranks which add lower and higher octaves.’
    • ‘The organ sounded great and the singing was lovely.’
    • ‘It was thrilling to hear it being translated into the big sound of the organ.’
    • ‘The regal sounds of the organ at Westminster Abbey.’
    • ‘When organists want to make a massive sound, the full organ, they pull out ‘all the stops,’ allowing virtually every pipe to speak.’
    • ‘Similarly, in ‘Darska,’ Rimbaud overlays a stuttering beat with the rising chords of a church organ and voices.’
    • ‘The organ sounded from the front of the church, the rich tones bringing me out of my reverie.’
    • ‘Instruments other than the organ were not to be used without the bishop's special permission.’
    • ‘The mass is sung by a vocal ensemble of six solo voices doubled by six instruments with organ.’
    • ‘To replace the fine organ with an electronic keyboard is bad enough, but to move the altar and remove the pews is quite unthinkable.’
    • ‘He sings sweetly behind a curtain of organs and electronic keyboards.’
    • ‘Well of course the very early organs were all mechanical and there was no electricity because they didn't have any.’
    1. 2.1 An electronic keyboard instrument that produces sounds similar to those of a pipe organ.
      See also reed organ
      • ‘I also did some detours through the organ world, but piano remained the most important instrument for me.’
      • ‘It is a song of hope and justice. Use percussion and guitars rather than an organ or piano.’
      • ‘Cornets replaced trumpets, and soft instruments, including the organ, were played in the intervals.’
      • ‘He moved from piano, to pedal organ, through several guitars, harmonica; other instruments too.’
      • ‘Another chord-playing instrument such as an organ or harpsichord also plays the bass line, but adds the chords above it, which are drawn from and match the music in the lines above.’
      • ‘Sandström uses a large orchestra, including many percussion instruments and an organ.’
      • ‘Clinic combines standard rock instruments with a moody, vintage organ creating a sound that's difficult to describe from a standard rock setup.’
      • ‘Somehow an organ and a drum kit can sound like Venus' doors swooping wide.’
      • ‘The dozen instrumentalists are busy with recorder, flute, viols, theorbo, harpsichord and organ.’
      • ‘The atmosphere is created mostly with pianos and organs, less so the strings of the past few albums.’
      • ‘My dad entertained Callum with an array of musical instruments: a guitar, piano, organ, harmonica, and a tin can.’
      • ‘So that was the deal I agreed to do, and I agreed to do the score and have a musical background, because United Film had a piano, an organ, and a celeste.’
      • ‘With the advent of boybands and the use of ever increasing technology in the world of music, one has forgotten the true sound of the guitar accompanied only by the drums and maybe the organ or the piano.’
      • ‘Drums, strange sounds and tones, in addition to the saxes or organs.’
      • ‘New keyboardist Per Wiberg is the band's secret weapon, his piano, organ, and mellotron giving the album a lush, spooky atmosphere.’
      • ‘Knitting Needles and Bicycle Bells builds distinctive walls of instrumentation, mostly from organs, pianos, and guitars.’
      • ‘There are electronic flourishes all over this record, alongside organs, cellos and pianos.’
      • ‘However, Leslie, was unimpressed with the organ's sound quality in the confined spaces of his home.’
      • ‘One way to help add real analog punch to your software electric piano, organ or even synthesizer is with an instrument preamp.’
      • ‘His melancholy voice and poetic talk of God and anarchists is compelling, especially with the retro-sounding organ, harmonica and horns.’
  • 3A department or organization that performs a specified function.

    ‘the central organs of administration and business’
    • ‘He said there were now criminals in the country who considered themselves more powerful than the organs of the state.’
    • ‘The president, the parliament including all other organs of the state should be subservient to the constitution that would make the country a responsible state.’
    • ‘The media function as organs of the government, disseminating its propaganda line with scant regard for the facts.’
    • ‘These organisations and their spokesmen say quite openly that what they are concerned with is the issue of violation of human rights by the organs of the state.’
    • ‘But over the years this profile has been destroyed and now these critical organs of local government development are mere excess baggage to Government.’
    • ‘In that state where all the organs of the state and civil society too have been communalised how can one hope for justice within the state?’
    • ‘Is it a state of affairs where free speech is suppressed by the organs of the State?’
    • ‘The Fascist Party and its organs were dissolved amid popular celebration.’
    • ‘This attitudinal change will not just happen, we the people must require it of our leaders, of our organs of government, of private enterprise, and of ourselves.’
    • ‘That is, the citizens of the states, as well as all other organs of government, were to have an equal voice in constitutional matters.’
    • ‘Is it acceptable that the management of a state company should ignore fundamental organs of the State?’
    • ‘He or she must not undermine the primacy of democratic law-making by the organs of government directly or indirectly accountable to the people.’
    • ‘On Monday, a High Court judge challenged law enforcement organs to promote and uphold the interests and aspiration of the community.’
    • ‘Federal powers or competencies (or whatever term one chooses to use instead) are assumed by organs of government.’
    • ‘The Director of Public Prosecutions is independent of the other organs of State in the exercise of his duties.’
    • ‘The public service pay conflict marks a further step in the trade unions' transformation into organs of government and big business.’
    • ‘These organs of the global economy are likewise members of the United Nations family.’
    • ‘The service chiefs are very experienced men who reach the head of major organs of the State after a long career experience.’
    • ‘They - like the federal and provincial governments - are organs of government over the people.’
    • ‘It is precisely those pivotal organs of government on which we would normally rely for consensual, but authoritative, action in a crisis such as now.’
    1. 3.1 A medium of communication, especially a newspaper or periodical that serves a particular organization, political party, etc.
      ‘an article in the official organ of the Salvation Army’
      newspaper, paper, journal, periodical, magazine, newsletter, gazette, bulletin, publication, means of communication, mouthpiece, voice, forum, vehicle, medium, channel, instrument, agency
      View synonyms


Late Old English, via Latin from Greek organon ‘tool, instrument, sense organ’, reinforced in Middle English by Old French organe.