germ

noun
\ˈjərm \

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 : microorganism especially : a microorganism causing disease

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Examples of germ in a Sentence

the germ that causes tuberculosis the germ of an idea the germ layers of an embryo
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Recent Examples on the Web

That germ of an idea was sidetracked as the filmmaker began asking Reynolds about his life and the discussions turned inward. Steve Appleford, latimes.com, "Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds' talks about his documentary `Believer' about his Mormon upbringing," 23 June 2018 Cup and straw both had to be clean to assure no germs would assail the children (or the able-bodied men). Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Disposable America," 21 June 2018 Thoroughly wash a container that was full of cereal with warm, soapy water before using it again, to remove harmful germs that could contaminate other food. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Honey Smacks recall: 100 salmonella infections in 33 states," 13 July 2018 Thoroughly wash the container with warm, soapy water before using it again, to remove harmful germs that could contaminate other food. Shelia Poole, ajc, "Kellogg’s recalls “Honey Smacks” over salmonella concerns," 13 July 2018 The International Atomic Energy Agency laboured to monitor Iraq’s nuclear-fuel cycle, but for other possible misbehaviour, including efforts to make poison gas or deadly germs, Mr Ekeus had to recruit his own team of experts. The Economist, "How Iraq was deprived of its weapons of mass destruction," 5 July 2018 Then, as the child ages and is introduced to something like a common cold, for example, the germs can then cause him or her to develop ALL. Taylor Seely, USA TODAY, "New study suggests childhood leukemia is possibly preventable, may be triggered by lack of germs," 23 May 2018 That was the germ for what would become Edimer Pharmaceuticals. Eric Boodman, STAT, "‘A full rescue’: Drug injected before birth treats rare genetic disorder," 25 Apr. 2018 That means the germ has the potential to spread undetected in that facility. Ashley Welch, CBS News, "Antibiotic resistant "nightmare bacteria" a growing threat in the U.S., CDC warns," 3 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of germ

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for germ

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

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Learn More about germ

Dictionary Entries near germ

gerim

gerkin

Gerlachovsky

germ

German

german

German-American

Statistics for germ

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for germ

The first known use of germ was in 1644

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More Definitions for germ

germ

noun

English Language Learners Definition of germ

biology : a very small living thing that causes disease

: the origin or basis of something

: a very small amount of something

germ

noun
\ˈjərm \

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 \

Medical Definition of germ 

1 : a small mass of living substance capable of developing into an organism or one of its parts

2 : microorganism especially : a microorganism causing disease

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Comments on germ

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