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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
the higher animals/mammals/organisms etc (=animals etc that are more intelligent or advanced than others)
▪ Modern societies are therefore institutionally differentiated, on the analogy of biological organisms, from the relatively simple to the relatively complex.
▪ This background influenced all his thinking about man in society, for he never forgot that human beings were biological organisms.
▪ In the biochemical approach, enzymes obtained from biological organisms are used.
▪ Individual cells have to develop differently in order to make any biological organism.
▪ This brings us to another group of alleged animal rights which relate to its functioning as a biological organism.
▪ It is the basic organic process of vegetation, which results in the adult or final form of this complex organism.
▪ The eye must be correctly connected to a brain, within a complex organism which is able to react to visual stimuli.
▪ Very simple and very complex organisms have lived side by side for a long time and both have evolved together.
▪ Then competition for scarce resources might favourably select more complex organisms.
▪ The complex organism constrains the behaviour of its parts.
▪ Natural selection does not properly claim that more complex organisms will be favoured.
▪ It is about the mixing of genes from different organisms.
▪ In the normal, healthy person the gut flora is a balanced community of different organisms.
▪ This may well be a unique combination which will produce a slightly different organism with new characteristics.
▪ Secondly, there is a need to determine how genetically engineered organisms will react when released into the environment.
▪ Even higher organisms resort to fermentation as an auxiliary process when the oxygen supply is insufficient.
▪ The motivational system of a higher organism is complex, comprising several distinct types of mechanism expressed through differing behavioural means.
▪ He worked with the bovine strain, but confirmed his positive findings with virulent human organisms.
▪ The human organism can withstand unspeakable physical pain.
▪ The rivalry between individual organism and group of organisms for the vehicle role, being a real rivalry, can be settled.
▪ That is, Gaian homeostasis originates in the local activity of individual organisms.
▪ As it happens the outcome, in my view, is a decisive victory for the individual organism.
▪ The population dynamics emerges from the interactions among the individual organisms.
▪ This is because it is second nature for them to pose their questions at the level of the individual organism.
▪ Because the individual organisms vary, some are bound to be better able to survive in particular circumstances than others.
▪ By 1841, he had very probably worked out, also, his later theory of individual organism generation: pangenesis.
▪ Genome: the genetic complement of a living organism.
▪ Level 4 Be able to measure variations in living organisms.
▪ In this respect they share a property of living organisms.
▪ In common with Descartes, he visualized the universe in terms of clockwork rather than as a living organism.
▪ Further chemical reactions led to living organisms.
▪ It provides a good training for any biologist because it looks at living organisms from many different viewpoints.
▪ All living organisms age, undergoing certain physiological changes as they do so.
▪ Carbon dioxide is added to the water by the respiration of fish, plants, and other living organisms.
▪ Most species of marine organism live on the continental shelf.
▪ Occasionally the silica-rich skeletal remains of single-celled marine organisms, diatoms, and of sponges occur in pottery.
▪ Climate can affect marine organisms directly, through temperature intolerance, and indirectly, through affecting food resources.
▪ They are also a severe threat to other species, particularly marine organisms.
▪ Unlike shallow-water wrecks, which are rotted by marine organisms and turbulence, deep water finds should be well preserved.
▪ The enzymes, in effect, determine the function of all multicellular organisms.
▪ Extracellular matrix is an integral part of multicellular organisms, providing structural integrity and support to cells.
▪ Nineteen children had one other organism, five children had two, and two children had three.
▪ Carbon dioxide is added to the water by the respiration of fish, plants, and other living organisms.
▪ I doubt that parasites or other organisms are at fault.
▪ A successful group of sponges has taken to boring into the shells of other organisms.
▪ Fish and other organisms have been successively destroyed over large areas of the creek, and surviving fish have become chronically diseased.
▪ Work with other organisms should yield some insight into the likely outcome.
▪ Humans are bounded by such principles as much as are other living organisms.
▪ This means that animals, which live by consuming other organisms, need ways of making do on very little.
▪ Even so, in this simple organism you can see the first hint of a fish.
▪ For very simple organisms, such as micro-organisms, the behavioral mode is not as important as the genetic mode.
▪ His luck was favoured by a prepared mind: by his decision to study simple characters in a simple organism.
▪ I now turn to bacteria, the simplest organisms capable of a non-parasitic life.
▪ An analysis of behavior naturally begins with simple organisms behaving in simple ways in simple settings.
▪ In the case of acute infectious diseases, attempts are made to isolate a single identifiable organism.
▪ The smallest organisms are no exception, and any mechanism by which some individuals can dominate others has value for survival.
▪ All social and economic organisms now produce documents on a vast scale.
▪ This division of labour was itself the product of the growing complexity of the social organism.
▪ As such it is of benefit to the whole organism and all its genes.
▪ Some sponges produce a soft flexible substance around their cells which supports the whole organism.
▪ Unlike the aerobic reaction that produces farmyard manure, anaerobic fermentation gives off little heat, so disease organisms thrive.
▪ They can always find a disease organism somewhere as a way of dismissing the idea of air pollution.
▪ This in turn reduces the bodily functions which are under attack from the disease organism.
▪ Salmonella-i hen's egg in boo carries this serious disease organism.
▪ Then, though, there is the risk that the beam itself will interfere with and possibly kill the organism under study.
▪ Mackowiak theorizes that this evolved to quickly kill badly infected organisms to prevent epidemic infection within species.
▪ Prehistoric man must have experienced caves as living organisms, especially if he explored their interior spaces in semi-darkness.
▪ Flashing blue lights, such as those described, are bioluminescence, which is visible light made by living organisms.
▪ But they are still living organisms.
▪ They can not bear the idea that living organisms can reproduce themselves on their own, at no cost.
▪ The conquest of air by living organisms is a relatively recent event, and one not yet completed.
▪ From studies on living organisms it is impossible to learn details of the molecular events in IL-6 induced gene expression.
▪ Mollusks, like all living organisms, constantly adapt to changes in environmental conditions.
▪ The new category of genetically modified organisms has been subject to far less testing than one should reasonably expect.
▪ Most intense has been the reaction against genetically modified crops, known as GMOs, for genetically modified organism.
▪ With a genetically modified organism if you do make a mistake that can be a mistake for ever.
▪ This may well be a unique combination which will produce a slightly different organism with new characteristics.
▪ This approach was followed for some months, so that an impressive list was produced of sensitive organisms, including many important pathogens.
▪ Food poisoning is caused by a bacterial organism.
▪ Genetic engineers manipulate living organisms such as cells or bacteria to create products which fight disease.
▪ The human body is a very complex organism.
▪ A network, or society, of very simpleminded decision-making centers like these formed an organism that exhibited remarkable agility and adaptability.
▪ Art is not a machine, he wrote, and it is not an organism.
▪ Ecologies and organisms have always been grown.
▪ From the start, resistant organisms have appeared.
▪ In this respect they share a property of living organisms.
▪ Obviously, organisms that form beliefs based on accurate perceptions of the environment will survive better than organisms that form inaccurate beliefs.
▪ Questions about life are conventionally questions about organisms.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Organism \Or"gan*ism\, n. [Cf. F. organisme.]

  1. Organic structure; organization. ``The advantageous organism of the eye.''

  2. (Biol.) 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.

    Note: Some of the lower forms of life are so simple in structure as to be without organs, but are still called organisms, since they have different parts analogous in functions to the organs of higher plants and animals.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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


n. (context biology English) A discrete and complete living thing, such as animal, plant, fungus or microorganism.

  1. n. a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently [syn: being]

  2. a system considered analogous in structure or function to a living body; "the social organism"


In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system, such as an animal, plant, fungus, archaeon, or bacterium. All known types of organisms are capable of some degree of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development and homeostasis. An organism consists of one or more cells; when it has one cell it is known as a unicellular organism; and when it has more than one it is known as a multicellular organism. Most unicellular organisms are of microscopic size and are thus classified as microorganisms. Humans are multicellular organisms composed of many trillions of cells grouped into specialized tissues and organs.

An organism may be either a prokaryote or a eukaryote. Prokaryotes are represented by two separate domains, the Bacteria and Archaea. Eukaryotic organisms are characterized by the presence of a membrane-bound cell nucleus and contain additional membrane-bound compartments called organelles (such as mitochondria in animals and plants and plastids in plants and algae, all generally considered to be derived from endosymbiotic bacteria). Fungi, animals and plants are examples of kingdoms of organisms within the eukaryotes.

Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which only about 1.2 million have been documented. More than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct. In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a set of 355 genes from the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms living on Earth.

Usage examples of "organism".

Reason-Principle: in the same way what gives an organism a certain bulk is not itself a thing of magnitude but is Magnitude itself, the abstract Absolute, or the Reason-Principle.

Stoth priest, now fully confirmed and entered into his adeptship, went before the Mechanist Union with a proposal to distribute the drug, which retards deterioration of cell generations and extends the number of such replications per organism as well as conferring extensive immunities, throughout the thirty-seven nations.

But European possibilities still exist within Russia, because in certain strata of the population adherence to the great organism of the Western Culture is an instinct, an Idea, and no material force can ever wipe it out, even though it may be temporarily repressed and driven under.

That it could not be a native Aenean organism was proved by the glittery little red eyes, three of them in a triangle.

It conjured up a society so encrusted with anachronisms that only a shock of great violence could free the living organism within.

So we both alleged a state of utter repletion, and did not solve the mystery of the contents of the cupboard,--not too luxurious, it may be conjectured, and yet kindly offered, so that we felt there was a moist filament of the social instinct running like a nerve through that exsiccated and almost anhydrous organism.

BODY, An American scientist studying Archaeon marine organisms was killed yesterday when his one-man submersible became wedged in an undersea canyon of the Galapagos Rift.

The cells in the culture were Archaeons, bacterialike marine organisms collected from deep-sea thermal vents.

Conscious that the human organism, normally capable of sustaining an atmospheric pressure of 19 tons, when elevated to a considerable altitude in the terrestrial atmosphere suffered with arithmetical progression of intensity, according as the line of demarcation between troposphere and stratosphere was approximated from nasal hemorrhage, impeded respiration and vertigo, when proposing this problem for solution, he had conjectured as a working hypothesis which could not be proved impossible that a more adaptable and differently anatomically constructed race of beings might subsist otherwise under Martian, Mercurial, Veneral, Jovian, Saturnian, Neptunian or Uranian sufficient and equivalent conditions, though an apogean humanity of beings created in varying forms with finite differences resulting similar to the whole and to one another would probably there as here remain inalterably and inalienably attached to vanities, to vanities of vanities and to all that is vanity.

Nonetheless, with the evolution of planaria-like organisms appeared both the rudimentary forms of a nervous system and the basic behavioural building blocks out of which fully developed memory processes are eventually fashioned.

The title not only confirmed the centrality of the hippocampus to studies of animal learning, but was also symbolic of the conceptual shift amongst psychologists away from the crudities of behaviourism and simple associationism towards an understanding of animals, like humans, as cognitive organisms.

His specialized internal biota seem more closely related to the kinds of organisms one would be likely to encounter in the vicinity of the equator.

The alien biospheres that had produced that precious blend of breathable gases were inevitably hostile and poisonous to terrestrial organisms, some immediately fatal.

In simple terms, cladistics consists of organizing organisms on the basis of shared features.

Then they created the John Keats cybrid -- a full attempt at simulating an empathic organism with the body and DNA of a human being, and the Core-stored memories and personality of a cybrid.