germ warfare


: the use of harmful microorganisms (such as bacteria) as weapons in war

Examples of germ warfare in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Imperial Japan killed as many as 30 million civilians in East Asia, while subjecting many thousands to torturous medical experiments and germ warfare. Eric Levitz, Vox, 3 June 2024 There was sufficient evidence from eyewitnesses and accomplices to lend credibility to charges of germ warfare. TIME, 4 May 2024 Claims included wild stories about secret U.S. germ warfare labs or Nazi conspiracies or that Ukrainian refugees were committing crimes and taking jobs from people who had welcomed them. David Klepper, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Mar. 2024 The country had been on the receiving end of germ warfare, on the part of the Imperial Japanese Army’s biowarfare Unit 731 during World War II. Yanzhong Huang, Foreign Affairs, 5 Mar. 2020 Emergent BioSolutions, which Mr. El-Hibri took public in 2006, bought up competitors in order to sell treatments for smallpox, botulism and other potential agents of germ warfare, becoming a prime federal contractor for biodefense vaccines and treatments. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 5 May 2022 The germ warfare somehow didn’t affect women. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 5 Mar. 2021 In the 1940s, the scientific consensus was leaning towards a concept of microscopic germ warfare, a sustained battle for survival among bacteria and fungi, all equipped with their own unique and evolutionarily refined weapons in the form of antibiotics and antifungal agents. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 1 Sep. 2015 In the 21st century, the practice has become a form of germ warfare., 19 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'germ warfare.' 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

1938, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of germ warfare was in 1938

Dictionary Entries Near germ warfare

Cite this Entry

“Germ warfare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

germ warfare

germ war·​fare -ˈwȯr-ˌfe(ə)r How to pronounce germ warfare (audio)
: the use of harmful microorganisms (as bacteria) as weapons in war

More from Merriam-Webster on germ warfare

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!