[mer-i-tawr-ee-uh s, -tohr-]
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Origin of meritorious

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin meritōrius on hire. See merit, -tory1, -ous
Related formsmer·i·to·ri·ous·ly, adverbmer·i·to·ri·ous·ness, nounun·mer·i·to·ri·ous, adjectiveun·mer·i·to·ri·ous·ly, adverbun·mer·i·to·ri·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedmeritorious meretricious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for meritorious


  1. praiseworthy; showing merit
Derived Formsmeritoriously, adverbmeritoriousness, noun

Word Origin for meritorious

C15: from Latin meritōrius earning 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 meritorious

early 15c., "deserving of divine grace," from Latin meritorius "that for which money is paid, that by which money is earned," from meritus, past participle of merere "to earn" (see merit (n.)). Related: Meritoriously; meritoriousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper