Origin or origins

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The origin of something is the location or moment in time when that thing came into existence. People have an origin too, their parents or, more commonly, the place their ancestors came from. The origin is also the place where two axes cross in a graph. Lastly, in medicine, an origin is the stronger, more stable attachment of a muscle. The word can be pluralized if one is talking about having multiple origins, or places of beginning. It should be noted that multiple things can have a single origin.

Origins has become the preferred term to discuss or describe ancestry. This is not based on any kind of grammar rule, it is simply more common, falling in the murky category of what ‘sounds right’.

Origins is listed in some dictionaries as a variant of origin, and even when it’s not listed, examples are given of its use. So, it is safe to agree that the word is firmly established.


An Indian-origin scientist in Germany has discovered a new, unexpected role for green tea – to improve the image quality of magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) testing. [The Times of India]

Like Ghidorah, Ellén trechend is a three-headed monster whose origin goes back to the eighth or ninth century, but there’s debate among translators about whether the monster is a bird or dragon. [International Business Times]

The study of fairy tales, including their origin and meaning, makes up its own branch of academia and is the subject of thick volumes and countless essays. [US News]

In a new interview, Dan Wieden, the advertising executive behind the famous campaign, opened up about its origins. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Yet Ms. Vallaud-Belkacem refuses to admit that her origins distinguish her from other politicians. [The New York Times]