: microorganisms of a domain (Archaea) including especially methane-producing forms, some red halophilic forms, and others of harsh hot acidic environments (such as hot springs) — compare bacterium, eukaryote
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1capitalized: a domain of primitive single-celled prokaryotic microorganisms including methane-producing forms and others that thrive in extremely salty or hot, often acidic environments
They are largely Archaea, a domain of life first identified 20 years ago … —Charles W. Petit and Laura Tangley, U.S. News & World Report, 8 Nov. 1999
2: microorganisms of the domain Archaea
Many of the archaea are thermophilic. —David W. Wolfe, Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2001
Other words from archaea
Despite the morphological resemblance of archaea to bacterial cells (e.g., lack of a nuclear membrane), many archaeal processes, such as transcription, are much more similar to those of eukaryotes. —Ken F. Jarrell, Bioscience, 1 July 1999