1510s, "serving as a means or instrument," from Latin organicus, from Greek organikos "of or pertaining to an organ, serving as instruments or engines," from organon "instrument" (see organ). The sense of "from or characteristic of organized living beings" (objects that have organs) is attested from 1778. The sense of "forming a whole with a systematic arrangement or coordination of parts" is by 1817. The meaning "free from pesticides and fertilizers" is attested by 1942. Organic chemistry is attested from 1831. Earlier was organical "relating to the body or its organs" (mid-15c.) and Middle English had organik, of body parts, "composed of distinct substances, possessing distinct properties" (c. 1400).
updated on September 25, 2019