What word would you use to ask if something is synthetic or natural?

What was the ____ of the materials in this shirt?

Should mean I am asking if its made from natural or synthetic materials.

  • What was the material his shirt was made of?
    – solarc
    Sep 11 '17 at 22:19


The nature or attributes of its constituents, as in a chemical composition.


I think perhaps the word I'm looking for is provenance.


the place of origin or earliest known history of something.

  • 1
    Can't you just ask What kind of material (or perhaps fabric) is/was this shirt made out of? For example, cotton is natural, rayon is man-made, and nylon is synthetic. Apr 8 '16 at 3:29
  • Place of origin or earliest known history of something (say, "an orange rug of Iranian provenance") is one thing; whether the thing is made of natural or synthetic material is quite another.
    – Jacinto
    Apr 8 '16 at 7:11

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