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

Examples of organism in a Sentence

A human being is a complex organism.
Recent Examples on the Web One recent paper implicated the tube size of slime molds—as in, the giant, visible-to-the-naked eye tubes that compose the organism—that could be a memory repository. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 28 May 2021 The microscopic organism can also resist the vacuum of space and lethal doses of radiation, reports Jonathan O'Callaghan for Science. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 May 2021 All this research on very simple sleepers raises questions about the very first organism that slept. Quanta Magazine, 18 May 2021 Genomic sequencing essentially involves mapping the DNA of an organism, the key to its unique features. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar And Zeke Miller, Star Tribune, 16 Apr. 2021 An empire is a living, breathing organism that must constantly expand to produce. Gabriela Berrospi, Forbes, 9 Mar. 2021 Between the folds To make proteins, our cells (and those of every other organism) chemically link amino acids to form a chain. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 30 Nov. 2020 This shroomy growth attaches to the roots of many trees, forming the nervous system of a sort of meta-organism — one that transmits messages and nutrients among trees of varying species. Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2021 Rather, aging is a byproduct of selection’s waning power over the course of an organism’s life. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2021

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

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Organism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/organism. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on organism

Nglish: Translation of organism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of organism for Arabic Speakers

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