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adjective ger·mane \(ˌ)jər-ˈmān\

Simple Definition of germane

  • : relating to a subject in an appropriate way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of germane

  1. 1 obsolete :  closely akin

  2. 2 :  being at once relevant and appropriate :  fitting <omit details that are not germane to the discussion>

germanely adverb

Examples of germane in a sentence

  1. The press material for this film contains some notes made by the Dardenne brothers during the shooting. Such material is usually disposable, but these notes are germane.. —Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic, 3 Feb. 2003

  2. From time to time, engineers and scientists hold conferences … where they trot out ideas they have developed, frequently ideas germane to solving practical problems. —Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations,(1984) 1985

  3. Bork and his supporters argued that his “academic” writings and his speeches were not germane to whether he should be confirmed. —Elizabeth Drew, New Yorker, 2 Nov. 1987

  4. facts germane to the dispute

  5. <my personal opinion isn't germane to our discussion of the facts of the case>

Did You Know?

Wert thou a Leopard, thou wert Germane to the Lion. So wrote Shakespeare in Timon of Athens (circa 1607), using an old (and now obsolete) sense of germane meaning "closely akin." Germane derives from the Latin word germen, meaning "bud" or "sprout," which is also at the root of our verb germinate, meaning "to sprout" or "begin to develop." An early sense of germane referred specifically to children of the same parents, who were perhaps seen as being like buds on a single tree.

Origin of germane

Middle English germain, literally, having the same parents, from Anglo-French

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of germane

relevant, germane, material, pertinent, apposite, applicable, apropos mean relating to or bearing upon the matter in hand. relevant implies a traceable, significant, logical connection <found material relevant to her case>. germane may additionally imply a fitness for or appropriateness to the situation or occasion <a point not germane to the discussion>. material implies so close a relationship that it cannot be dispensed with without serious alteration of the case <facts material to the investigation>. pertinent stresses a clear and decisive relevance <a pertinent observation>. apposite suggests a felicitous relevance <add an apposite quotation to the definition>. applicable suggests the fitness of bringing a general rule or principle to bear upon a particular case <the rule is not applicable in this case>. apropos suggests being both relevant and opportune <the quip was apropos>.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up germane? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tending to dismiss important matters

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