mi·​crobe | \ ˈmī-ˌkrōb How to pronounce microbe (audio) \

Definition of microbe

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Other Words from microbe

microbial \ mī-​ˈkrō-​bē-​əl How to pronounce microbe (audio) \ or less commonly microbic \ mī-​ˈkrō-​bik How to pronounce microbe (audio) \ adjective
microbially \ mī-​ˈkrō-​bē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce microbe (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

A hint of the Greek word bios, meaning "life", can be seen in microbe. Microbes, or microorganisms, include bacteria, protozoa, fungi, algae, amoebas, and slime molds. Many people think of microbes as simply the causes of disease, but every human is actually the host to billions of microbes, and most of them are essential to our life. Much research is now going into possible microbial sources of future energy; algae looks particularly promising, as do certain newly discovered or created microbes that can produce cellulose, to be turned into ethanol and other biofuels.

Examples of microbe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Alien microbe hunters have long hungered to dig into the Martian soil and see if anything’s living there, but this year a new planet popped up on their radar—at least for a while. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "The best space stories of 2020," 25 Dec. 2020 Getting a wild microbe to take root in a petri dish requires painstaking work, expert skills, and a lot of luck. Monique Brouillette, Wired, "A New Field Guide for Earth’s Wild Microbes," 18 Dec. 2020 Sensing the type of threat posed by a microbe, and the level of intensity of that threat, allows your immune system to select the right set of responses, wield them precisely, and avoid the very real danger of immune overreaction. Matthew Woodruff, The Conversation, "Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 will have side effects – that’s a good thing," 3 Dec. 2020 There, temperatures and pressures are similar to those at sea level on Earth, making the zone both balloon- and microbe-friendly. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Three ways scientists could search for life on Venus," 1 Oct. 2020 On Saturday, environmental officials lifted a warning for Lake Jackson to stop using tap water because it might be tainted with a deadly brain-eating microbe, but warned the water should be boiled before being consumed. Jordan Freiman, CBS News, "Texas officials say it could take 2-3 months to make water safe after brain-eating amoeba kills 6-year-old," 29 Sep. 2020 If a conservator can’t yet see the effects of the fungus visually, perhaps the microbe’s DNA could betray its presence. Matt Simon, Wired, "Meet the Microbes Living on Da Vinci’s Iconic Sketches," 25 Nov. 2020 By taking a microbe-system approach, this probiotic is designed to offer benefits to the cardiovascular system, metabolism, and skin in addition to gastrointestinal health. Sian Babish, chicagotribune.com, "Seed Probiotics review: Can this shelf-stable probiotic subscription improve gut function?," 7 Nov. 2020 Following his death, health officials in the Lake Jackson area began testing water samples, three of which were positive for the Naegleria fowleri microbe. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "Texas boy's brain-eating amoeba death leads city to flush water system," 29 Sep. 2020

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

1878, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for microbe

International Scientific Vocabulary micr- + Greek bios life — more at quick entry 1

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Time Traveler for microbe

Time Traveler

The first known use of microbe was in 1878

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Statistics for microbe

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Microbe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microbe. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for microbe


How to pronounce microbe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of microbe

: an extremely small living thing that can only be seen with a microscope


mi·​crobe | \ ˈmī-ˌkrōb How to pronounce microbe (audio) \

Kids Definition of microbe

: a very tiny and often harmful living thing : microorganism


mi·​crobe | \ ˈmī-ˌkrōb How to pronounce microbe (audio) \

Medical Definition of microbe

: microorganism, germ used especially of pathogenic bacteria

More from Merriam-Webster on microbe

Nglish: Translation of microbe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of microbe for Arabic Speakers

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