The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Organ \Or"gan\ ([^o]r"gan), n. [L. organum, Gr. 'o`rganon; akin
to 'e`rgon work, and E. work: cf. F. organe. See Work, and
cf. Orgue, Orgy.]
1. 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.
2. (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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
5. [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. --Pope.
Note: Chaucer used the form orgon as a plural.
The merry orgon . . . that in the church goon
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 (Zool.), a Tasmanian crow shrike (Gymnorhina
organicum). It utters discordant notes like those of a
hand organ out of tune.
Organ fish (Zool.), the drumfish.
Organ gun. (Mil.) Same as Orgue
Organ harmonium (Mus.), an harmonium of large capacity and
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. (Zool.) See Tubipora.
Organ point (Mus.), a passage in which the tonic or
dominant is sustained continuously by one part, while the
other parts move.