According to Merriam-Webster, something is meretricious if it has the nature of prostitution, is tawdrily and falsely attractive, or is superficially significant. The authors there also note that it was their word-of-the-day on February 11, 2013, and you can still hear the podcast from their website. In the podcast, someone uses the word to describe music intended to appeal to the audience although not really very good, and other uses echo this sense of motivation by money where that motivation is not quite respectable.
A little look around Google Books suggests that the word is mostly used in legal contexts or in style manuals discussing the word itself. I did turn up one more literary use of the word, in William Faulkner’s Light in August: "He watches quietly the puny, unhorsed figure moving with the precarious and meretricious cleverness of animals balanced on their hinder legs; that cleverness of which man animal is so fatuously proud and which constantly betrays him by means of natural laws like gravity." (I only found this passage cited in other books; perhaps the full text of Light in August is not yet available online.)
The word is also in Johnson’s dictionary, but of course that takes up back a while.
In The History Boys: A Play By Alan Bennett, a character uses the word and then must explain what he meant by it.