organism

noun
or·gan·ism | \ˈȯr-gə-ˌni-zəm \

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 \ or less commonly organismal \ˌȯr-gə-ˈniz-məl \ adjective
organismically \ˌȯr-gə-ˈniz-mi-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

Examples of organism in a Sentence

A human being is a complex organism.

Recent Examples on the Web

These organisms are injured and die under a net that has been caught on the rock. Washington Post, "Cleaning the seabed: Divers halt the carnage of ‘ghost’ nets," 8 June 2018 By day, these organisms turn the water red or brown. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Rare Phenomenon Made the Ocean in California Glow Blue This Week," 12 May 2018 Because these organisms are quite fragile, now researchers in my lab and others use scuba diving or robots to directly observe them underwater. Kelly Sutherland, Smithsonian, "These Strange Ocean Creatures Trap Their Food In a Net of Mucus," 3 May 2018 To get the brine shrimp to migrate, the researchers simply took advantage of the fact that these organisms migrate toward the light. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Tiny krill appear to mix up the ocean," 20 Apr. 2018 The researchers are calling these hypothetical organisms azotosomes. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Titan's Seas May Hide a Strange Form of Nitrogen-Based Life," 2 Mar. 2015 After dark, the tour searches for blooms of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, small organisms in the water that produce a burst of light when excited by motion. Necee Regis, BostonGlobe.com, "Here, there, and everywhere," 12 June 2018 Because spiders are an important part of nature and our indoor ecosystem – as well as being fellow organisms in their own right. Matt Bertone, Philly.com, "Why you shouldn't kill that spider in your house," 30 May 2018 Because spiders are an important part of nature and our indoor ecosystem — as well as being fellow organisms in their own right. Matt Bertone, Washington Post, "Don’t kill that spider in your house. It’s unlikely to bite you and is good for the environment.," 28 May 2018

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 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \ also organismal \-məl \ adjective
organismically \-mi-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

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one that holds something together

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