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 Trader Joe’s Egg Salad 6 ounce cups and Trader Joe's Old Fashioned Potato Salad, 20 ounce trays have been recalled for potential listeria contamination. Sarah Brookbank,, "Eggs, egg products from Trader Joe's, Kroger, Walmart recalled due to listeria concerns," 26 Dec. 2019 Almark Foods broadened the recall to include all hard-boiled egg products manufactured at its facility in Gainesville, Georgia, due to potential listeria contamination. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "A hard-boiled egg recall expands to products sold at Walmart and Trader Joe's following a deadly listeria outbreak," 25 Dec. 2019 Trader Joe’s is recalling 10 of its ready-to-eat sushi meals, poke bowls and other foods after learning of a possible listeria contamination. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Trader Joe’s Recalls Pre-Made Sushi, More in 30 States," 4 Dec. 2019 People at high risk of infection should use caution The listeria bacteria primarily infects pregnant women, older adults, people with weakened immune systems and newborns, the CDC said. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "A hard-boiled egg recall expands to products sold at Walmart and Trader Joe's following a deadly listeria outbreak," 25 Dec. 2019 Penn Dutch expanded into a second store in Margate in 2004 and was planning to add a third location in Sunrise when state food inspectors found the pathogen listeria in several meat products in both stores in February and March. Ron Hurtibise,, "Penn Dutch’s listeria-contaminated Hollywood building sold for $3.7 million," 19 Nov. 2019 White Castle is recalling some of its frozen burgers shipped to 22 states due to possible listeria contamination after finding the bacteria in one of its manufacturing plants. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "White Castle recalls frozen burgers over listeria fears," 10 Dec. 2019 The listeria was found near where the food was being processed, said Gene Grabowski, a spokesman for Fuji Food Products., "Trader Joe’s recalled several of its prepared sushi products after the FDA found they may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause a serious infection, at a supplier’s facility in Brockton, officials said.," 6 Dec. 2019 The recall is in response to a notification by the Food and Drug Administration and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for a potential contamination of listeria monocytogenes. Allen Kim, CNN, "More than 100 vegetable products recalled for listeria concerns," 4 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for listeria

Time Traveler

The first known use of listeria was in 1952

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Statistics for listeria

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Listeria.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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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

Comments on listeria

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