Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M
sallymn
1word1day

Sunday Word: Meretricious

meretricious [mer-i-trish-uhs]
adjective:
1. Apparently attractive but having no real value, superficially or garishly attractive. tawdry
2. Plausible but false or insincere; specious
3. (archaic) Relating to or characteristic of a prostitute

Examples:

In many ways, it was a meretricious performance, but it was a gifted one in terms of verbal gymnastics.(the Hansard archive, quoted by Cambridge Dictionary</a>)

She was half-angry with him in the carriage, and said something about meretricious manners. (Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers

"Elementary," said he. "It is one of those instances where the reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neighbour, because the latter has missed the one little point which is the basis of the deduction. The same may be said, my dear fellow, for the effect of some of these little sketches of yours, which is entirely meretricious, depending as it does upon your retaining in your own hands some factors in the problem which are never imparted to the reader. (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes )

He was a son of God – a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that – and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end. (F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)

Origin:

C17: from Latin merētrīcius, from merētrix prostitute, from merēre to earn money (Collins Dictionary)

Meretricious can be traced back to the Latin verb merēre, meaning "to earn, gain, or deserve." It shares this origin with a small group of other English words, including "merit," meritorious," and "emeritus." But, while these words can suggest some degree of honor or esteem, "meretricious" is used to suggest pretense, insincerity, and cheap or tawdry ornamentation. The Latin merēre is at the root of the Latin noun meretrix, meaning "prostitute," and its related adjective "meretricius" ("of or relating to a prostitute"). The Latin meretricius entered into English as "meretricious" in the 17th century. Shortly after being adopted, "meretricious" also began to be used to indicate things which are superficially attractive but which have little or no value or integrity. (Merriam-Webster)


Tags: adjective, latin, m, wordsmith: sallymn
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