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 Mission planners are still debating how, exactly, to safeguard the rocks from Mars against Earthly contamination, as well as any possible outbreak, no matter how unlikely, of an alien organism. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, "Rocks, Rockets and Robots: The Plan to Bring Mars Down to Earth," 6 Feb. 2020 Instead, malaria is a protist, an organism that in some cases dramatically changes form depending on its life cycle. oregonlive, "Thousands of mosquitoes to help in OHSU’s fight to eliminate malaria," 25 Jan. 2020 For such a warning to work an organism must either be toxic to consume or dangerous to approach. The Economist, "Bright, iridescent beetles are surprisingly well camouflaged," 23 Jan. 2020 As a normal part of healthy growth and development, an organism sometimes needs for some of its cells to die on schedule. Quanta Magazine, "Unscrambled Eggs: Self-Organization Restores Cells’ Order," 2 Jan. 2020 The Bureau is located within the shifting, ever-evolving Oldest House, which hosts an insidious organism known as the Hiss, which may end up holding the key to the disappearance of Jesse's brother as well as a host of other anomalies in the world. Brittany Vincent, CNN Underscored, "These are our favorite video games of 2019," 26 Dec. 2019 These characteristics should likewise be valid to identify an organism on Mars as insect-like. Fox News, "'There has been and still is life on Mars,' expert claims, citing NASA photos," 20 Nov. 2019 On the level of an entire organism, the aging process is much more complex, though, and the length of telomeres does not necessarily correlate with life span, says Chen. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "'Missing link' between pond scum and humans discovered, holds promise for cancer research," 20 Nov. 2019 When these genes and proteins aren’t working right, the results are etched into an organism’s most basic architecture. Eric Boodman, STAT, "Leave a Comment," 23 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for organism

Time Traveler

The first known use of organism was circa 1774

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Statistics for organism

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Organism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/organism. Accessed 26 Feb. 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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