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

This is normal, and these organisms do not break down the structural components of wood. Boston.com Real Estate, "Ask the Carpenter: Getting mold off cedar shingles, paint off brick," 18 July 2019 For people and pets, these organisms have a large impact on the health of both the GI tract and the entire body. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "Pet Talk: The benefits of a balanced microbiome," 13 July 2019 But experiments in many organisms suggested epigenetic inheritance was real. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how," 18 July 2019 In the crater study, the team found high levels of radiation in the crater’s underwater sediment, while also observing a surprising number of living organisms — including sea cucumbers, considered a delicacy in many areas of the world. Susanne Rust, Los Angeles Times, "Radiation in parts of the Marshall Islands is far higher than Chernobyl, study says," 15 July 2019 In the crater study, the team found high levels of radiation in the crater’s underwater sediment, while also observing a surprising number of living organisms — including sea cucumbers, considered a delicacy in many areas of the world. Susanne Rust, latimes.com, "Radioactivity in parts of the Marshall Islands is far higher than Chernobyl, study says," 15 July 2019 The resultant immune response is the consequence of an ancient system for maintaining the sovereignty of organisms. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, "The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies," 15 July 2019 The extra carbon dioxide is causing the ocean to become more acidic, harming the ability of marine organisms to build their shells and skeletons. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "MIT professor renews warning about the possibility of mass extinction event in ocean," 11 July 2019 These products can accumulate in living organisms over time, in both vacationing humans and sea creatures. Aaron E. Carroll, New York Times, "How Safe Is Sunscreen?," 10 June 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

5 Aug 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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