[mer-i-trish-uh s] /ˌmɛr ɪˈtrɪʃ əs/

alluring by a show of flashy or vulgar attractions; tawdry.
based on pretense, deception, or insincerity.
pertaining to or characteristic of a prostitute.
superficially or garishly attractive
insincere: meretricious praise
(archaic) of, like, or relating to a prostitute

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.


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