organism

noun
or·​gan·​ism | \ ˈȯr-gə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce organism (audio) \

Definition of organism

1 : a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole the nation is not merely the sum of individual citizens at any given time, but it is a living organism, a mystical body … of which the individual is an ephemeral part— Joseph Rossi
2 : an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of parts or organs more or less separate in function but mutually dependent : a living being a multicellular organism

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Other Words from organism

organismic \ ˌȯr-​gə-​ˈniz-​mik How to pronounce organism (audio) \ or less commonly organismal \ ˌȯr-​gə-​ˈniz-​məl How to pronounce organism (audio) \ adjective
organismically \ ˌȯr-​gə-​ˈniz-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce organism (audio) \ adverb

Examples of organism in a Sentence

A human being is a complex organism.
Recent Examples on the Web Last, the research will include two model organism investigations. Julia Musto, Fox News, 4 June 2021 Cyanobacteria is actually an aquatic organism naturally found in surface waters, said Koch. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 May 2021 Devoting resources to maintenance is advantageous only if an organism is likely to continue surviving and reproducing. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2021 But as our understanding of the relationship between genome and organism has become more complex, certainty about skin and eye color has evaporated (though genetic evidence for red hair in some populations remains strong). Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2021 This indicated that each cluster of cells was evolving as one organism. Sarah Fecht, Scientific American, 16 Jan. 2012 One recent paper implicated the tube size of slime molds—as in, the giant, visible-to-the-naked eye tubes that compose the organism—that could be a memory repository. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 28 May 2021 The microscopic organism can also resist the vacuum of space and lethal doses of radiation, reports Jonathan O'Callaghan for Science. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 May 2021 All this research on very simple sleepers raises questions about the very first organism that slept. Quanta Magazine, 18 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'organism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of organism

circa 1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for organism

Time Traveler

The first known use of organism was circa 1774

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Statistics for organism

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Organism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/organism. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for organism

organism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of organism

: an individual living thing
: a system with many parts that depend on each other and work together

organism

noun
or·​gan·​ism | \ ˈȯr-gə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce organism (audio) \

Kids Definition of organism

: a living thing made up of one or more cells and able to carry on the activities of life (as using energy, growing, or reproducing)

organism

noun
or·​gan·​ism | \ ˈȯr-gə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce organism (audio) \

Medical Definition of organism

: an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent : a living being

Other Words from organism

organismic \ ˌȯr-​gə-​ˈniz-​mik How to pronounce organism (audio) \ also organismal \ -​məl How to pronounce organism (audio) \ adjective
organismically \ -​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce organism (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on organism

Nglish: Translation of organism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of organism for Arabic Speakers

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