germ theory


Definition of germ theory 

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

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These advances transformed science and led, amongst other things, to germ theory and microbiology. Doug Main, The Atlantic, "Humankind’s Most Important Material," 7 Apr. 2018 Fundamental research is credited with resulting in a range of groundbreaking discoveries, from GPS technology to germ theory. Lloyd B. Minor, Fortune, "Commentary: How Silicon Valley Can Help Fix Our Health Care System," 19 Mar. 2018 Tetanus and gangrene were serious threats as germ theory was only in its infant stages. Katie Nodjimbadem, Smithsonian, "How World War I Influenced the Evolution of Modern Medicine," 4 Apr. 2017 With the development of germ theory, sunlight and fresh air had new purposes. Jeanne Kisacky, Smithsonian, "When Fresh Air Went Out of Fashion at Hospitals," 14 June 2017 This is right at the beginning of his development of antisepsis, and a lot of surgeons aren’t accepting germ theory at this point. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "The Gruesome, Bloody World of Victorian Surgery," 22 Oct. 2017 Doctors who routinely infected women during childbirth out of ignorance of the germ theory of disease are not reviled today. Angela Rocco Decarlo, WSJ, "Christopher Columbus, Great American," 8 Oct. 2017 However, Pasteur's incomplete knowledge of germ theory still allowed him to develop vaccines for anthrax and rabies, saving many lives in the process. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "How Sheep’s Blood Helped Disprove This Wacky Nineteenth-Century Theory of Illness," 13 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'germ theory.' 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 theory

1870, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of germ theory was in 1870

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More Definitions for germ theory

germ theory


Medical Definition of germ theory 

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

More from Merriam-Webster on germ theory Encyclopedia article about germ theory

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