germ

noun
\ ˈjərm How to pronounce germ (audio) \
plural germs

Definition of germ

1a : a small mass of living substance capable of developing into an organism or one of its parts
b : the embryo with the scutellum of a cereal grain that is usually separated from the starchy endosperm during milling
2 : something that initiates development or serves as an origin : rudiments, beginning
3 : a microorganism causing disease : a pathogenic agent (such as a bacterium or virus) broadly : microorganism

Examples of germ in a Sentence

the germ that causes tuberculosis the germ of an idea the germ layers of an embryo
Recent Examples on the Web The germ of the idea came to Mr. Crutchfield during a conversation with a sales representative from the West Coast, who told him about a folder, popular in California, called the Pee-Chee, which had unconventional vertical pockets. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2022 Health officials also recommend using a thermometer to make sure foods are cooked at a temperature high enough to kill the germ. Emily Mae Czachor, CBS News, 18 Aug. 2022 Cronobacter is a germ that can live in very dry places, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Korin Miller, SELF, 1 Aug. 2022 Listeria monocytogenes is a germ that causes a serious infection known as listeriosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Korin Miller, Health.com, 2 Nov. 2021 Salmonella is the other dangerous germ tied to the Shoppers Drug Mart baby formula recall. Chris Smith, BGR, 23 June 2022 A half century ago, Susan had the germ of a good idea that’s grown against all odds and has captured many around these parts. Steve West, Sun Sentinel, 23 June 2022 Made from flour that uses the entire grain, including the bran and germ, whole wheat offers more fiber, protein, and vitamins than white bread. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, 15 Apr. 2022 Some of those use mRNA technology similar to the shots already sold by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, while others use DNA, inactive virus or a small piece of a germ, such as a protein. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, 17 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'germ.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of germ

circa 1550, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for germ

French germe, from Latin germin-, germen, from gignere to beget — more at kin

Learn More About germ

Dictionary Entries Near germ

Gerlachovsky

germ

German

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Statistics for germ

Last Updated

12 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Germ.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/germ. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for germ

germ

noun
\ ˈjərm How to pronounce germ (audio) \

Kids Definition of germ

1 : a source from which something develops the germ of an idea
2 : a microorganism (as a bacterium) that causes disease
3 : a bit of living matter (as a cell) capable of forming a new individual or one of its parts

germ

noun
\ ˈjərm How to pronounce germ (audio) \

Medical Definition of germ

1 : a small mass of living substance capable of developing into an organism or one of its parts
2 : a microorganism causing disease : a pathogenic agent (as a bacterium or virus) broadly : microorganism

More from Merriam-Webster on germ

Nglish: Translation of germ for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of germ for Arabic Speakers

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