The Collaborative International Dictionary
Organ \Or"gan\, n. [L. organum, Gr. ?; akin to ? work, and E. work: cf. F. organe. See Work, and cf. Orgue, Orgy.]
An instrument or medium by which some important action is performed, or an important end accomplished; as, legislatures, courts, armies, taxgatherers, etc., are organs of government.
(Biol.) A natural part or structure in an animal or a plant, capable of performing some special action (termed its function), which is essential to the life or well-being of the whole; as, the heart, lungs, etc., are organs of animals; the root, stem, foliage, etc., are organs of plants.
Note: In animals the organs are generally made up of several tissues, one of which usually predominates, and determines the principal function of the organ. Groups of organs constitute a system. See System.
A component part performing an essential office in the working of any complex machine; as, the cylinder, valves, crank, etc., are organs of the steam engine.
A medium of communication between one person or body and another; as, the secretary of state is the organ of communication between the government and a foreign power; a newspaper is the organ of its editor, or of a party, sect, etc. A newsletter distributed within an organization is often called its house organ.
[Cf. AS. organ, fr. L. organum.] (Mus.) A wind instrument containing numerous pipes of various dimensions and kinds, which are filled with wind from a bellows, and played upon by means of keys similar to those of a piano, and sometimes by foot keys or pedals; -- formerly used in the plural, each pipe being considered an organ.
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Note: Chaucer used the form orgon as a plural.
The merry orgon . . . that in the church goon [go].
Barrel organ, Choir organ, Great organ, etc. See under Barrel, Choir, etc.
Cabinet organ (Mus.), an organ of small size, as for a chapel or for domestic use; a reed organ.
Organ bird (Zo["o]l.), a Tasmanian crow shrike ( Gymnorhina organicum). It utters discordant notes like those of a hand organ out of tune.
Organ fish (Zo["o]l.), the drumfish.
Organ gun. (Mil.) Same as Orgue (b) .
Organ harmonium (Mus.), an harmonium of large capacity and power.
Organ of Corti (Anat.), a complicated structure in the cochlea of the ear, including the auditory hair cells, the rods or fibers of Corti, the membrane of Corti, etc. See Note under Ear.
Organ pipe. See Pipe, n., 1.
Organ-pipe coral. (Zo["o]l.) See Tubipora.
Organ point (Mus.), a passage in which the tonic or dominant is sustained continuously by one part, while the other parts move.