1894 in biological sense "repetition of parts in living things;" earlier in rhetoric, "synecdoche in which totality is expressed by contrasting parts" (e.g. high and low, young and old); from Modern Latin merismus, from Greek merismos "a dividing, division, a partition," from merizein "to divide," from meros "part, share" (see merit (n.)). Related: Merismatic.

Nearby words

  1. mering,
  2. meringue,
  3. merino,
  4. merionethshire,
  5. merisis,
  6. meristem,
  7. meristematic,
  8. meristic,
  9. merit,
  10. merit badge

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper