clos·​trid·​i·​um klä-ˈstri-dē-əm How to pronounce clostridium (audio)
plural clostridia klä-ˈstri-dē-ə How to pronounce clostridium (audio)
: any of a genus (Clostridium) of spore-forming mostly anaerobic soil or intestinal bacteria see botulinum, c. diff, gas gangrene, tetanus
clostridial adjective

Examples of clostridium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s got an extra strain of probiotic bacteria in there (clostridium, for the curious), which is noteworthy, as many probiotics merely contain one strain. Sean Evans, Robb Report, 14 Jan. 2024 Similarly, these infections vary in length, from 24 hours (clostridium perfringens) to upwards of a week (campylobacter). Elizabeth Bacharach, Women's Health, 29 Aug. 2023 Meanwhile, its clostridium has produced over 50 million gallons of ethanol, avoiding more than 250,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Lauren Oster, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Sep. 2023 Advertisement Specifically, a team of forensic scientists from Denmark, Canada, and Chile found clostridium botulinum in Neruda’s remains, a neurotoxin that can cause Botulism. Diego Lasarte, Quartz, 15 Feb. 2023 But crucially, the researchers also found in one of Mr. Neruda’s molars traces of the bacterium clostridium botulinum. Jack Nicas, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2023 The drug, called Rebyota, is given as a one-dose treatment for clostridium difficile infections, commonly known as C. diff., in which the toxin-producing bacteria disrupts the normal balance in a person’s digestive system. Kate Sheridan and Allison Deangelis, STAT, 30 Nov. 2022 If not professionally treated, human waste and other body fluids can spread dangerous diseases such as hepatitis A, clostridium difficile, e-coli, rotavirus and norovirus, MDARD added. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 5 Oct. 2022 That count did not include deaths and illnesses from a nasty bug called clostridium difficile, because the germ still is cowed by the drugs used to treat it., 14 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clostridium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, genus name, from Greek klōstēr spindle, from klōthein to spin

First Known Use

1884, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of clostridium was in 1884

Dictionary Entries Near clostridium

Cite this Entry

“Clostridium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


clos·​trid·​i·​um kläs-ˈtrid-ē-əm How to pronounce clostridium (audio)
capitalized : a genus of saprophytic rod-shaped or spindle-shaped usually gram-positive bacteria (family Clostridiaceae) that are anaerobic or require very little free oxygen and are nearly cosmopolitan in soil, water, sewage, and animal and human intestines, that are very active biochemically comprising numerous fermenters of carbohydrates with vigorous production of acid and gas, many nitrogen-fixers, and others which rapidly putrefy proteins, and that include important pathogens see blackleg, botulism, c. diff, gas gangrene, tetanus bacillus
plural clostridia -ē-ə How to pronounce clostridium (audio)
: any bacterium of the genus Clostridium
: a spindle-shaped or ovoid bacterial cell
especially : one swollen at the center by an endospore
clostridial adjective

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