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meretricious

[mer-i-trish-uh s] /ˌmɛr ɪˈtrɪʃ əs/
adjective
1.
alluring by a show of flashy or vulgar attractions; tawdry.
2.
based on pretense, deception, or insincerity.
3.
pertaining to or characteristic of a prostitute.
Origin
1620-1630
1620-30; < Latin meretrīcius of, pertaining to prostitutes, derivative of meretrīx prostitute = mere-, stem of merēre to earn + -trīx -trix; see -ous
Related forms
meretriciously, adverb
meretriciousness, noun
unmeretricious, adjective
unmeretriciously, adverb
unmeretriciousness, noun
Can be confused
meritorious, meretricious.
Synonyms
1. showy, gaudy. 2. spurious, sham, false.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for unmeretricious

meretricious

/ˌmɛrɪˈtrɪʃəs/
adjective
1.
superficially or garishly attractive
2.
insincere: meretricious praise
3.
(archaic) of, like, or relating to a prostitute
Derived Forms
meretriciously, adverb
meretriciousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin merētrīcius, from merētrix prostitute, from merēre to earn 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
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Word Origin and History for unmeretricious

meretricious

adj.

1620s, "pertaining to harlots," from Latin meretricius "of or pertaining to prostitutes," from meretrix (genitive meretricis) "prostitute," literally "woman who earns money," from merere, mereri "to earn, gain" (see merit (n.)). Meaning "gaudily alluring" is from 1630s. Related: Meretriciously; meretriciousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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