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

Examples of organism in a Sentence

A human being is a complex organism.
Recent Examples on the Web Britton points out that while the disease was unheard of a few months ago, researchers have already identified the responsible organism and sequenced its genome. Anchorage Daily News, "Coronavirus pandemic puts Alaska’s epidemiologists front and center," 8 July 2020 Other top players prefer to remain distant, viewing Twitch as a platform rather than a cultural organism. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "The Grandmaster Who Got Twitch Hooked on Chess," 14 June 2020 The sequence or order of these chemicals contains the data to develop, maintain and grow the organism. Scientific American, "Colorful Double Helix," 9 Aug. 2018 Aging is the process by which the likelihood of death increases the longer an organism is alive. Amanda Kowalczyk, The Conversation, "From marmots to mole-rats to marmosets – studying many genes in many animals is key to understanding how humans can live longer," 1 July 2020 It’s now so commonly used as a simple model of physical systems that physicists liken it to the fruit fly, biology’s model organism. Quanta Magazine, "The Cartoon Picture of Magnets That Has Transformed Science," 24 June 2020 The maze, in a way, serves as a metaphor for an organism’s life. Sophia Chen, Wired, "These Bacteria Ate Their Way Through a Really Tricky Maze," 9 June 2020 Most refer to the ability of an organism to receive and process information from their environment, solve problems, adapt to new situations, and make choices between alternative courses of action. Gareth Cook, Scientific American, "A Poetic, Mind-Bending Tour of the Fungal World," 24 June 2020 Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease—or illness caused by pathogens passed on from one living organism to another—in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Leah Groth, Health.com, "Lyme Disease and Coronavirus Have Some Similar Symptoms—Here's How to Tell the Difference," 12 June 2020

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

21 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Organism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/organism. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for organism

organism

noun
How to pronounce organism (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on organism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with organism

Spanish Central: Translation of organism

Nglish: Translation of organism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of organism for Arabic Speakers

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