(KS2, Year 6)

The origin is where the x-axis and y-axis meet on a graph. The image below shows what we mean by the origin:originThe origin is often denoted by the letter O.

Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the origin as "a fixed point from which measurement or motion commences; specifically the point of intersection of the axes in Cartesian coordinates."

The Cartesian Coordinates of the Origin

The Cartesian co-ordinate of the origin is (0, 0).origin_cartesian_coordinatesThis is because the value of the x-axis is 0 and the value of the y-axis is 0. This means the x-coordinate is 0 and the y-coordinate is 0.

The Origin on A Number Line

The origin also refers to 0 on a number line.origin_number_lineNote: The x-axis and y-axis are number lines. The origin is found at 0 on both axes.

What's in a Name?

Origin means "start" or "beginning". When you count on a number line, you start from 0. When you define a point with Cartesian coordinates, you start from the origin. Imagine you wanted to find the point (2, 4). Starting from the origin:
  • go 2 across (across the x-axis)
  • go 4 up (up the y-axis)
origin of graph explained
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This page was written by Stephen Clarke.