[ mer-i-trish-uhs ]
/ ˌmɛr ɪˈtrɪʃ əs /


alluring by a show of flashy or vulgar attractions; tawdry.
based on pretense, deception, or insincerity.
pertaining to or characteristic of a prostitute.

Origin of meretricious

1620–30; < Latin meretrīcius of, pertaining to prostitutes, derivative of meretrīx prostitute, equivalent to mere-, stem of merēre to earn + -trīx -trix; see -ous

Related forms

Can be confused

meritorious meretricious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for meretricious

British Dictionary definitions for meretricious


/ (ˌmɛrɪˈtrɪʃəs) /


superficially or garishly attractive
insinceremeretricious praise
archaic of, like, or relating to a prostitute

Derived Forms

meretriciously, adverbmeretriciousness, noun

Word Origin for meretricious

C17: from Latin merētrīcius, from merētrix prostitute, from merēre to earn money
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