Word Origin & History
O.E. organe, and O.Fr. orgene (12c.), both meaning "musical instrument," both from L. organa, pl. of organum, from Gk. organon "implement, musical instrument, organ of the body," lit. "that with which one works," from PIE *werg-ano-, from base *werg- "to do," related to Gk. ergon "work" and O.E. weorc
(v.)). Applied vaguely in late O.E. to musical instruments; sense narrowed by c.1386 to the modern musical instrument known by that name (involving pipes supplied with wind by a bellows and worked by means of keys), though Augustine (c.400) knew this as a specific sense of L. organa. The meaning "body part adapted to a certain function" is attested from 1392. Organist is first recorded 1591; organ-grinder is attested from 1806.