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 As with refrigerated meat and unpasteurized dairy products, cheese can harbor listeria and other pathogens. Rachel Meltzer Warren, New York Times, "The Foods to Avoid When You’re Pregnant," 17 Apr. 2020 Blue Bell ice cream was linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas. Shannon Liao, CNN, "Blue Bell agrees to $19 million fine over ice cream linked to 2015 listeria outbreak," 2 May 2020 Guan’s Mushrooms and H&C Food have recalled enoki mushrooms imported from South Korea because of listeria fears. Los Angeles Times, "Debt collectors covet your coronavirus check," 20 Apr. 2020 Raw, unpasteurized milk can harbor germs like listeria, salmonella, campylobacter or cryptosporidium. Rachel Meltzer Warren, New York Times, "The Foods to Avoid When You’re Pregnant," 17 Apr. 2020 Bacteria and viruses die within hours of coming into contact with copper; E.coli, listeria, MRSA, and staphylococcus are killed with minutes. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "How Using Copper in Your Home Helps Your Health," 19 Mar. 2020 People at a higher risk from a listeria infection include the elderly, people with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases, pregnant women and newborns. NBC News, "Four dead, 32 sickened in listeria outbreak tied to mushrooms from Korea," 11 Mar. 2020 Four of the seven people reported with listeria infections have been hospitalized, according to the CDC, and one has died from the outbreak. Gabrielle Chung,, "Packaged Hard-Boiled Eggs Linked to Deadly Listeria Outbreak Across 5 States, CDC Warns," 19 Dec. 2019 Of all samples, 9.5 percent came back positive for listeria. Ron Hurtibise,, "Penn Dutch-type germs are common in supermarkets, but the state rarely tests for them," 4 Oct. 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

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Listeria.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 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

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