meretricious

[mer-i-trish-uhs]

adjective

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

Nearby words

  1. merengue,
  2. mereology,
  3. meres,
  4. merese,
  5. merestone,
  6. merganser,
  7. merge,
  8. mergee,
  9. mergenthaler,
  10. mergenthaler, ottmar

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 confusedmeritorious meretricious

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

Examples from the Web for meretricious


British Dictionary definitions for meretricious

meretricious

adjective

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

Word Origin and History for meretricious

meretricious

adj.

1620s, "pertaining to harlots," from Latin meretricius "of or pertaining to prostitutes," from meretrix (genitive meretricis) "prostitute," literally "woman who earns money," from merere, mereri "to earn, gain" (see merit (n.)). Meaning "gaudily alluring" is from 1630s. Related: Meretriciously; meretriciousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper