Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. 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.
  • n. A system regarded as analogous in its structure or functions to a living body: the social organism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A discrete and complete living thing, such as animal, plant, fungus or microorganism.
  • n. Any complex thing with properties normally associated with living things.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Organic structure; organization.
  • n. An organized being; a living body, either vegetable or animal, composed of different organs or parts with functions which are separate, but mutually dependent, and essential to the life of the individual.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Organic structure; organization.
  • n. A body exhibiting organization and organic life; a member of the animal or vegetable kingdom; an individual composed of a number of essential and mutually dependent parts, all of which partake of a common life.
  • n. Anything that is organized or organic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently
  • n. a system considered analogous in structure or function to a living body

Etymologies

From Ancient Greek ὄργανον ("tool, instrument"), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- (“work”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Geology paper adds a new line of evidence indicating that the organism is a fungus.

    Archive 2007-04-01

  • This organism is also responsible for the characteristic sour taste of fermented dairy foods such as yogurt.

    Primer on Probiotics

  • The concept of dsRNA as a trigger for sequence-specific gene silencing only makes sense if one recognizes that the organism is actively responding by unwinding the RNA strands both for amplification and to generate single strands capable of base pairing with targets.

    Craig C. Mello - Autobiography

  • The use of a gas such as NO for signalling between cells in the organism is an entirely new concept that has emerged from the work of Furchgott, Ignarro, and

    Physiology or Medicine for 1998 - Animation

  • Drawing on the work of Richard Dawkins Deutsch copiously acknowledges his influences, he explains that a gene is a little packet of knowledge about the environment it exists in-a set of instructions for building a complex chemical bundle, which we call an organism, that will protect it and allow it to make copies of itself.

    The New Yorker

  • So you're saying that I said in effect that "transitional structures are not selectable, that is, each organism is not adapted to its own environment"?

    Assessing Fault

  • When a trapped organism is freed and begins a series of attacks, she is forced to team with a blue-collar mercenary helicopter pilot (Edgerton) to stop the rampage.

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton to star in Matthijs Van Heijningen’s THE THING – Collider.com

  • The organism is considered an indicator of whether potential contaminants from the intestines of cattle have gotten into slaughtered meat — a source of the far more dangerous E. coli O157: H7.

    Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches

  • Anyone or anything can become an unreasonable interference with use and enjoyment of property, but the individual organism is something all together different and amazing.

    Scofflaws exposed (Jack Bog's Blog)

  • You know, organisms that can grow an entire genetically identical organism from a single cutting on their own.

    It begins and ends in rust. Which begs the question...

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