lis·​te·​ria | \ li-ˈstir-ē-ə How to pronounce listeria (audio) \
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

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Examples of listeria in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The symptoms of listeria infections are generally similar to other foodborne illnesses, the CDC says. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Avocados Recalled in 6 States for Possible Listeria Contamination," 25 Mar. 2019 Deli meat Processed meat like lunch meat and hot dogs, as well as smoked fish, are also vulnerable to listeria contamination. Suzannah Weiss, Glamour, "9 Foods to Avoid If You're Trying to Get Pregnant," 17 Apr. 2019 Henry Avocado Corporation issued a voluntary recall of whole avocados over the weekend after a routine government inspection tested positive for listeria bacteria at one of their packing facilities. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "An Avocado Recall Has Been Issued After Possible Listeria Contamination," 25 Mar. 2019 In 2009, he was treated for a massive listeria infection—a sickness that is often fatal. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "What Drove Jack Bogle to Upend Investing," 18 Jan. 2019 The epitome of that is the 2017 Aunt Jemima frozen food recall, when listeria was found in the plant. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Here's what you need to know about the current salmonella and cyclospora outbreaks," 17 June 2018 The symptoms of listeria and salmonella may be similar—and similarly unpleasant. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Corn in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Salads Recalled Over Listeria and Salmonella Concerns," 18 Oct. 2018 More: Stop & Shop, Giant, Martin's recall frozen broccoli due to listeria concerns More: People are throwing out romaine lettuce, but why hasn't there been a recall? Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "Tyson Food Inc. to recall 3,120 pounds of breaded chicken for plastic contamination," 11 June 2018 Beyond romaine, some 200 million eggs were recalled in April, several dog food brands were recalled after traces of a euthanasia drug were found in them, and Panera recalled all cream cheese products, also due to listeria concerns. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Here's How to Tell If You're Affected by the Frozen Broccoli Recall," 24 May 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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Statistics for listeria

Last Updated

20 May 2019

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Time Traveler for listeria

The first known use of listeria was in 1952

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More Definitions for listeria


lis·​te·​ria | \ lis-ˈtir-ē-ə How to pronounce listeria (audio) \

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 How to pronounce listerial (audio) \ adjective
listeric \ -​ik How to pronounce listeric (audio) \ adjective

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