germ

play
noun \ˈjərm\

Definition of germ

  1. 1a :  a small mass of living substance capable of developing into an organism or one of its partsb :  the embryo with the scutellum of a cereal grain that is usually separated from the starchy endosperm during milling

  2. 2 :  something that initiates development or serves as an origin :  rudiments, beginning

  3. 3 :  microorganism; especially :  a microorganism causing disease

Examples of germ in a Sentence

  1. the germ that causes tuberculosis

  2. the germ of an idea

  3. the germ layers of an embryo

Recent Examples of germ from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of germ

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


GERM Defined for English Language Learners

germ

play
noun

Definition of germ for English Language Learners

  • biology : a very small living thing that causes disease

  • : the origin or basis of something

  • : a very small amount of something


GERM Defined for Kids

germ

play
noun \ˈjərm\

Definition of germ for Students

  1. 1 :  a source from which something develops the germ of an idea

  2. 2 :  a microorganism (as a bacterium) that causes disease

  3. 3 :  a bit of living matter (as a cell) capable of forming a new individual or one of its parts


Medical Dictionary

germ

play
noun \ˈjərm\

Medical Definition of germ

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

  2. 2:  microorganism; especially :  a microorganism causing disease



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