lis·te·ria | \li-ˈstir-ē-ə \
plural listeria

Definition of listeria 

: any of a genus (Listeria) of small, gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria that do not form spores and have a tendency to grow in chains and that include one (Listeria monocytogenes) that causes listeriosis A common germ found in many foods from raw vegetables to hot dogs, listeria can cause a sometimes fatal disease called listeriosis when present in large quantities.— Amy Barrett also : a disease or sickness caused by infection with this bacterium : listeriosis Listeria symptoms include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. — Sierra Brown

Examples of listeria in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

An Australian farm has recommenced selling cantaloupes despite the melons being blamed for an outbreak of the deadly listeria bacteria that the World Health Organization said had killed seven people and caused a miscarriage in Australia. Fox News, "Australian farm sells melons after fatal listeria outbreak," 10 Apr. 2018 Two years ago, Kellogg recalled some Bare Naked granolas that used sunflower seeds from SunOpta, a supplier linked to an outbreak of listeria. Jesse Newman, WSJ, "Kellogg Recalls Honey Smacks Cereal on Salmonella Concerns," 15 June 2018 That box of ice cream bars in your fridge might be contaminated with listeria. Emily Price, Fortune, "Popular Ice Cream Bars Recalled Due to Listeria Concerns," 12 Jan. 2018 That describes most recalls having to do with salmonella and listeria. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Here's what you need to know about the current salmonella and cyclospora outbreaks," 17 June 2018 Walmart settled lawsuits in 2014 with the families of some of the 33 people who died of listeria infections traced to cantaloupes from Colorado that the retailer sold. Andy Marso, kansascity, "Salmonella is sickening Missourians who bought pre-cut melon from this major chain," 8 June 2018 The creamery, located in Texas, pulled its product off shelves in April 2015 after listeria was detected in its products, killing three people in Kansas and sickened 10 more in four states. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Blue Bell ice cream is back! Here's where you can find it in Kentucky and Indiana," 12 Mar. 2018 The chain says no listeria illnesses have been reported yet and tests on cream cheese samples manufactured before and after the production run in question have all come back negative. William Axford, Houston Chronicle, "Panera Bread recalling all 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese products to prevent listeria," 29 Jan. 2018 Seven outbreaks – four salmonella, two E. coli, one listeria – since 2014 trace back to sprouts, according to the Centers for Disease Control. David J. Neal, charlotteobserver, "Nine things a food safety lawyer won’t eat, at home or in a restaurant," 6 July 2018

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

1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for listeria

New Latin, from Listeria, from Joseph Lister

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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The first known use of listeria was in 1952

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lis·te·ria | \lis-ˈtir-ē-ə \

Medical Definition of listeria 

1 capitalized : a genus of small gram-positive flagellated rod-shaped bacteria that do not form spores, are aerobic or facultatively anaerobic, and have a tendency to grow in chains and that include one (L. monocytogenes) causing listeriosis

2 : any bacterium of the genus Listeria

called also listerella

Other Words from listeria

listerial \lis-ˈtir-ē-əl \ adjective
listeric \-ik \ adjective

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