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

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 Approximately 3,400 pounds of frozen meatballs shipped to Louisiana and eight other states, including Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, are being recalled over listeria concerns. Maria Clark,, "3,400 pounds of Member's Mark meatballs are being recalled over listeria concerns," 25 Jan. 2018 Both listeria and salmonella are bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, but in both cases, otherwise healthy adults rarely experience severe symptoms. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Corn in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Salads Recalled Over Listeria and Salmonella Concerns," 18 Oct. 2018 Three dog food and treat products were recalled over the weekend by manufacturers because of possible listeria or salmonella contamination. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Three more dog foods, treats recalled over possible contamination," 26 Feb. 2018 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

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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2 Dec 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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