germ theory


: a theory in medicine: infections, contagious diseases, and various other conditions result from the action of microorganisms

Examples of germ theory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the time, however, germ theory was still in its infancy, and doctors did not yet have antibiotics at their disposal. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Feb. 2024 It’s named after inventor James Salisbury, a pioneer of germ theory and diets that helped combat digestive illnesses during the 19th century. Julia Levy, Southern Living, 17 Dec. 2023 Dominique Janee: This was before doctors knew much about germ theory of disease. Dominique Janee, Scientific American, 2 Nov. 2023 However, Pasteur also gave weight to Ignaz Semmelweis’ controversial germ theory of disease stating that microbes have the capacity to cause pathological effects on our human health [3]. Anthony Martin, Discover Magazine, 26 Apr. 2016 American confidence in both science and transparency dates back to the Progressive era, the period from around 1890 through World War I, when germ theory took hold and began to transform public health, medical care, and expectations about disease control. Amy Lauren Fairchild, Foreign Affairs, 10 Mar. 2020 At that point, new microscopy technology and the germ theory of disease had revolutionized medicine. Hillary Waterman, Discover Magazine, 1 Sep. 2016 Or that Louis Pasteur, the chemist who proved the germ theory of disease, also busted the myth of life on Mars? Annalee Newitz, Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2023 Scientists had yet to discover germ theory, so no one knew what a virus was. Hannah Seo, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use

1863, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of germ theory was in 1863

Dictionary Entries Near germ theory

Cite this Entry

“Germ theory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

germ theory

: the theory that infectious and contagious disease results from the action of living things

Medical Definition

germ theory

: a theory in medicine: infections, contagious diseases, and various other conditions (as suppurative lesions) result from the action of microorganisms

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