Meaning of meretricious


Have you ever heard the phrase “fake it until you make it”? That is advice that encourages you to be meretricious, pretending to be something you aren’t, like the meretricious flaunting of gigantic fake diamond earrings, pretending they are real — and that you can afford them.

To correctly pronounce meretricious, accent the third syllable: “mer-uh-TRISH-us.” Don’t mistake something that is meretricious for having merit. In fact, it is just the opposite. From an expensive restaurant that looks expensively furnished but when the lights are turned up, you can see that “leather” chairs are just cheap vinyl or a woman who pretends her counterfeit handbags are designer originals, meretricious actions are meant to deceive.

Definitions of meretricious
  1. adjective

    tastelessly showy

    meretricious yet stylish book”

    brassy, cheap, flash, flashy, garish, gaudy, gimcrack, loud, tacky, tatty, tawdry, trashy


    lacking aesthetic or social taste
  2. adjective

    based on pretense; deceptively pleasing

    meretricious praise”
    meretricious argument”

    gilded, specious


    lacking sincerity
  3. adjective

    like or relating to a prostitute

    meretricious relationships”

Word Family

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