adjective ger·mane \ (ˌ)jər-ˈmān \
|Updated on: 22 Jun 2018

Definition of germane

1 obsolete : closely akin
2 : being at once relevant and appropriate : fitting
  • omit details that are not germane to the discussion



germane was our Word of the Day on 07/01/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of germane in a Sentence

  1. The press material for this film contains some notes made by the Dardenne brothers during the shooting. Such material is usually disposable, but these notes are germane.. —Stanley KauffmannNew Republic3 Feb. 2003
  2. Bork and his supporters argued that his "academic" writings and his speeches were not germane to whether he should be confirmed. —Elizabeth DrewNew Yorker2 Nov. 1987
  3. From time to time, engineers and scientists hold conferences … where they trot out ideas they have developed, frequently ideas germane to solving practical problems. —Jane JacobsCities and the Wealth of Nations(1984) 1985
  4. facts germane to the dispute

  5. my personal opinion isn't germane to our discussion of the facts of the case

Recent Examples of germane from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Wert thou a Leopard, thou wert Germane to the Lion. So wrote Shakespeare in Timon of Athens (circa 1607), using an old (and now obsolete) sense of germane meaning "closely akin." Germane derives from the Latin word germen, meaning "bud" or "sprout," which is also at the root of our verb germinate, meaning "to sprout" or "begin to develop." An early sense of germane referred specifically to children of the same parents, who were perhaps seen as being like buds on a single tree.

Origin and Etymology of germane

Middle English germain, literally, having the same parents, from Anglo-French

Synonym Discussion of germane

relevant, germane, material, pertinent, apposite, applicable, apropos mean relating to or bearing upon the matter in hand. relevant implies a traceable, significant, logical connection.
    • found material relevant to her case
germane may additionally imply a fitness for or appropriateness to the situation or occasion.
    • a point not germane to the discussion
material implies so close a relationship that it cannot be dispensed with without serious alteration of the case.
    • facts material to the investigation
pertinent stresses a clear and decisive relevance.
    • a pertinent observation
apposite suggests a felicitous relevance.
    • add an apposite quotation to the definition
applicable suggests the fitness of bringing a general rule or principle to bear upon a particular case.
    • the rule is not applicable in this case
apropos suggests being both relevant and opportune.
    • the quip was apropos

GERMANE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of germane for English Language Learners

  • : relating to a subject in an appropriate way

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one who attends or assists a leader

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