a form of life composed of mutually interdependent parts that maintain various vital processes.
a form of life considered as an entity; an animal, plant, fungus, protistan, or moneran.
any organized body or system conceived of as analogous to a living being: the governmental organism.
any complex thing or system having properties and functions determined not only by the properties and relations of its individual parts, but by the character of the whole that they compose and by the relations of the parts to the whole.

Origin of organism

First recorded in 1655–65; organ + -ism
Related formsor·gan·is·mic, or·gan·is·mal, adjectiveor·gan·is·mi·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·or·gan·ism, noun
Can be confusedorganism orgasm

Synonyms for organism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for organism

Contemporary Examples of organism

Historical Examples of organism

  • Thus the organism modifies its surroundings, and is in turn modified by them.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • During this period the organism undergoes the most singular metamorphoses.

  • He obeyed his instincts, permitting the will of his organism to lead him.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • Though they may be shorn of their glory, they retain their place in the organism of knowledge.

  • This is not the only way of stimulating the organism, but it seems the most powerful.

British Dictionary definitions for organism



any living biological entity, such as an animal, plant, fungus, or bacterium
anything resembling a living creature in structure, behaviour, etc
Derived Formsorganismal or organismic, adjectiveorganismally, adverb
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 organism

1660s, "organic structure, organization," from organize + -ism. Sense of "living animal or plant" first recorded 1842. Related: Organismic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for organism




An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist, or fungus; a body made up of organs, organelles, or other parts that work together to carry on the various processes of life.
Related formsor′gan•ismal (-nĭzməl) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for organism



An individual form of life that is capable of growing, metabolizing nutrients, and usually reproducing. Organisms can be unicellular or multicellular. They are scientifically divided into five different groups (called kingdoms) that include prokaryotes, protists, fungi, plants, and animals, and that are further subdivided based on common ancestry and homology of anatomic and molecular structures.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.