Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[mer-uh-stem] /ˈmɛr əˌstɛm/
noun, Botany.
embryonic tissue in plants; undifferentiated, growing, actively dividing cells.
Origin of meristem
1870-75; < Greek merist(ós) divided, distributed (equivalent to *merid-, stem of merízein to divide into parts (derivative of méris part, share) + -tos verbal adjective suffix) + -em < Greek -ēma termination of nouns denoting result of action; cf. -eme Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for meristem


a plant tissue responsible for growth, whose cells divide and differentiate to form the tissues and organs of the plant. Meristems occur within the stem (see cambium) and leaves and at the tips of stems and roots
Derived Forms
meristematic (ˌmɛrɪstɪˈmætɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek meristos divided, from merizein to divide, from meris portion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for meristem

"growing cellular tissues of plants," 1862, formed irregularly from Greek meristos "divided, divisible" (from merizein "to divide, distribute," from meros "a part, a share;" see merit (n.)) + ending from xylem, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
meristem in Science
Plant tissue whose cells actively divide to form new tissues that cause the plant to grow. The originally undifferentiated cells of the meristem can produce specialized cells to form the tissues of roots, leaves, and other plant parts. The meristem includes the growing tips of roots and stems (the apical meristems) and the tissue layer known as cambium.

meristematic adjective (měr'ĭ-stə-māt'ĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
meristem in Culture
meristem [(mer-i-stem)]

The region on a plant where division of cells (and hence growth) occurs. Usually, meristems are found in the shoots and root tips, and places where branches meet the stem. In trees, growth occurs in the cambium — the layer just beneath the bark.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for meristem

Difficulty index for meristem

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for meristem

Scrabble Words With Friends