adjective Etymology: Latin meretricius, from meretric-, meretrix prostitute, from merēre to earn — more at merit Date: 1626 1. of or relating to a prostitute ; having the nature of prostitution <
meretricious relationships
2. a. tawdrily and falsely attractive <
the paradise they found was a piece of meretricious trash — Carolyn See
b. superficially significant ; pretentious <
scholarly names to provide fig-leaves of respectability for meretricious but stylish books — Times Literary Supplement
Synonyms: see gaudymeretriciously adverbmeretriciousness noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Meretricious — Mer e*tri cious, a. [L. meretricius, from meretrix, icis, a prostitute, lit., one who earns money, i. e., by prostitution, fr. merere to earn, gain. See {Merit}.] 1. Of or pertaining to prostitutes; having to do with harlots; lustful; as,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • meretricious — I adjective artificial, bedizened, brummagem, cheap, counterfeit, deceitful, deceptive, delusive, fake, false, fraudulent, garish, gaudy, imitation, misleading, mock, ornate, sham, showy, speciously attractive, spurious, tawdry, theatrical,… …   Law dictionary

  • meretricious — derived from Latin meretrix ‘prostitute’, means ‘showily but falsely attractive’: • She could view with contempt those of her fellow tourists who, after the Aegean, could excite themselves over the meretricious charms of Venice Robert Liddell,… …   Modern English usage

  • meretricious — (adj.) 1620s, pertaining to harlots, from L. meretricius of or pertaining to prostitutes, from meretrix (gen. meretricis) prostitute, lit. woman who earns money, from merere, mereri to earn, gain (see MERIT (Cf. merit) (n.)). Meaning gaudily… …   Etymology dictionary

  • meretricious — *gaudy, tawdry, garish, flashy Analogous words: *showy, pretentious, ostentatious: vulgar, *coarse, gross: deceptive, delusive, delusory, *misleading …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • meretricious — [adj] gaudy, flashy blatant, bogus, brazen, chintzy, counterfeit, garish, glaring, insincere, loud, misleading, ornate, phony, plastic*, put on*, sham, showy, spurious, superficial, tawdry, tinsel, trashy; concepts 542,589 Ant. genuine, real,… …   New thesaurus

  • meretricious — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ showily but falsely attractive. ORIGIN from Latin meretrix prostitute , from mereri be hired …   English terms dictionary

  • meretricious — [mer΄ə trish′əs] adj. [L meretricius < meretrix (gen. meretricis), a prostitute < mereri, to serve for hire, earn: see MERIT] 1. Obs. of, like, or characteristic of a prostitute 2. alluring by false, showy charms; attractive in a flashy… …   English World dictionary

  • meretricious — mer|e|tri|cious [ˌmerıˈtrıʃəs] adj formal [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: meretricius, from meretrix prostitute , from merere; MERIT1] something that is meretricious seems attractive but has no real value or is not based on the truth ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • meretricious — [[t]me̱rɪtrɪ̱ʃəs[/t]] ADJ GRADED (disapproval) If you describe something as meretricious, you disapprove of it because although it looks attractive it is actually of little value. [FORMAL] ...vulgar, meretricious and shabby souvenirs …   English dictionary

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