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

Pressure seems to be a limiting factor for multicellular organisms, like plants and animals. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "NASA eyes the ocean: How the deep sea could unlock outer space," 23 Aug. 2019 But heat is only part of the issue in determining the effect of warming on living organisms; the other primary determinants are humidity and solar radiation. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Heat-stress scale includes the impact of sun’s angle," 7 July 2019 The paleosols may even preserve sedimentary DNA shed from ancient organisms. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Rising Seas Swallowed Countless Archaeological Sites. Scientists Want Them Back," 20 May 2019 Overall, the genesis of eukaryotes remains mysterious because all eukaryotes alive today arose from an organism that was already complex. Quanta Magazine, "Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells," 9 Apr. 2019 But in recent decades, scientists have assembled massive amounts of genetic information from organisms collected around the world and stored them in publicly available databases for others to study or use. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Plan to amend biopiracy rules would ‘smother research,’ biologists warn," 3 July 2018 His research also laid the foundation for the earliest experiments on recombinant DNA, which combines genes from different organisms. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Stanley Falkow, microbiologist who studied bacteria and the diseases they cause, dies at 84," 12 May 2018 Rasgon is concerned that the Scientific Reports paper has fueled unfounded suspicions about GM organisms. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Study on DNA spread by genetically modified mosquitoes prompts backlash," 17 Sep. 2019 After a season of growth, the soil likely contains rotting roots and disease organisms that could affect new plants. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, "Fungus causes leaf drop in crape myrtles," 14 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for organism

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for organism

The first known use of organism was circa 1774

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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 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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