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From Middle English organic, organik, from Old French organique, from Latin organicus.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɔːˈɡænɪk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɔɹˈɡænɪk/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ænɪk


organic (comparative more organic, superlative most organic)

  1. (biology) Pertaining to or derived from living organisms. [from 1778]
  2. (physiology, medicine) Pertaining to an organ of the body of a living organism.
  3. (chemistry) Relating to the compounds of carbon, relating to natural products.
  4. (agriculture) Of food or food products, grown in an environment free from artificial agrichemicals, and possibly certified by a regulatory body. [from 1942]
  5. (sociology) Describing a form of social solidarity theorized by Emile Durkheim that is characterized by voluntary engagements in complex interdependencies for mutual benefit (such as business agreements), rather than mechanical solidarity, which depends on ascribed relations between people (as in a family or tribe).
  6. (military) Of a military unit or formation, or its elements, belonging to a permanent organization (in contrast to being temporarily attached).
    • 1998: Eyal Ben-Ari, Mastering Soldiers: Conflict, Emotions, and the Enemy in an Israeli Military Unit. Beghahn Books, p 29.
      Socially, the term “organic” unit implies a military force characterized by relatively high cohesion, overlapping primary groups and a certain sense of shared past.
    • 1945: U.S. War Department, Handbook on German Military Forces. LSU Press (1990). p 161.
      Most types of German field divisions include an organic reconnaissance battalion, and the remainder have strong reconnaissance companies.
  7. Instrumental; acting as instruments of nature or of art to a certain destined function or end.
    • Milton
      those organic arts which enable men to discourse and write perspicuously
  8. (Internet, of search results) Generated according to the ranking algorithms of a search engine, as opposed to paid placement by advertisers.
    • 2008, Michael Masterson, MaryEllen Tribby, Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business
      According to a recent survey by Jupiter Research, 80 percent of Web users get information from organic search results.
  9. Developing in a gradual or natural fashion.
    The writing of the script was an organic process.
  10. Harmonious; coherent; structured.
    The production came together in an organic whole.

Coordinate termsEdit

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Related termsEdit



organic (plural organics)

  1. (chemistry) An organic compound.
  2. An organic food.
  3. (science fiction) A living organism, as opposed to a robot or hologram.


See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • "organic" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 227.


Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


Borrowed from Old French organique, borrowed itself from Latin organicus. Equivalent to organe +‎ -ik.


  • IPA(key): /ɔrˈɡaniːk/, /ɔrˈɡaniːs/



  1. Resembling or functioning like an organ; composed of distinct divisions.
  2. (rare) Positioned around the neck or nape (used of veins)