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Organic is a word that has many definitions, depending on the context. It is a term primarily used within biology, chemistry, and environmentalism. Its opposite is inorganic.


In biology, the term organic means anything made of or derived from living organisms.


See also organic compound.

In chemistry, the term organic is applied to many carbon-containing compounds. It is a common misconception that "organic" refers to any compound that contains carbon. Multiple inorganic molecules containing carbon exist, such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Chemistry is split into two general categories: organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry.


Within the environmentalist or healthy food movements, organic refers to any food grown without man-made chemicals or pesticides. The USDA certifies foods as organic, but some farmers also produce uncertified food.