member

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun a main structural unit
  • noun an individual that belongs to a group

Accounting

  • noun a person who belongs to a group, society or organisation
  • noun a shareholder in a company

Aviation

  • noun a large, important structural unit

Cars & Driving

  • noun a general term that refers mainly to the side rails and crossmembers but also to any structural hollow-section part on a car

Computing

  • noun one object on a page of a multimedia book
  • noun an individual record or item in a field

Construction

  • A general term for a structural component of a building, such as a beam or column.

Law

  • noun somebody who belongs to a group or a society

Politics

  • noun a Member of Parliament, or a member of Congress
  • noun a person elected to a local council

Origin & History of “member”

Latin membrum originally meant ‘part of the body, limb, organ’ (it has been connected tentatively with various words in other Indo-European languages meaning ‘flesh, meat’, including Sanskrit māmsám and Gothic mimz). But it was early broadened out metaphorically to ‘part of anything, one that belongs’, and brought that meaning with it via Old French membre into English. The original sense still survives, though, particularly with reference to the ‘penis’ (an application that originated in Latin – membrōsus denoted ‘having a large penis’).

Derived from Latin membrum was the adjective membrānus. Its feminine form membrāna was used as a noun meaning ‘skin covering an organ or limb’ – whence English membrane (16th c.).
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