But, ahaa! the root for both is merere (I'd put a line over the second E but don't know how, in Blogger), a Latin word meaning "to earn." And meretricious comes from meretrix, a female earner: a prostitute.
That's the patriarchy at work, ladies and gentlemen.
Now I'm just keeping my ears open on the subway and bus to hear the name Meretricia.
It won't take long, I'm sure.