noun bac·te·ria \bak-ˈtir-ē-ə\
plural bacteria also bac·te·ri·as

Definition of BACTERIA

:  bacterium —not usually used technically

Usage Discussion of BACTERIA

Bacteria is regularly a plural in scientific and pedagogical use; in speech and in journalism it is also used as a singular, and it is sometimes pluralized as bacterias <caused by a bacteria borne by certain tiny ticks — Wall Street Journal> <more resistant to chlorine and elevated water temperatures than other bacterias — Allan Bruckheim, M.D., Chicago Tribune>. These journalistic uses are found in British as well as American sources.

Origin of BACTERIA

plural of bacterium
First Known Use: 1881

Other Microbiology Terms

pathogen, salmonella, tetanus


Next Word in the Dictionary: bacteriacidePrevious Word in the Dictionary: bacteri-All Words Near: bacteria
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears