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 microbial (audio) \ or less commonly microbic \ mī-​ˈkrō-​bik How to pronounce microbic (audio) \ adjective

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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 Too late for midnight kissers: Moist lips are rich in microbes. National Geographic, "How can we stop these bubbles from surfacing?," 1 Jan. 2020 A year in space caused DNA damage; gene expression changes; a thickening of the retina; thickening of Kelly's carotid artery; shifts in gut microbes; reduced cognitive abilities; and a structural change at the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Exoplanets, black holes, human ancestors and new dinosaurs: The 2010s were stellar for space and science discoveries," 20 Dec. 2019 Some of the first findings linking gut microbes to stroke just appeared about three years ago. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Targeting Gut Microbes May Help Stroke Recovery," 19 Nov. 2019 Today, such close connections have proved to be the rule for many host-microbe partnerships. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "A love of insects and their microbial partners helped this biologist reveal secrets of symbiosis," 14 Nov. 2019 Where else can scientists look to better understand microbe communities in the human body? Eryn Brown, Smithsonian, "By Studying Mouth Bacteria, Scientists Hope to Learn the Secrets of Microbiomes," 8 Nov. 2019 Researchers hope that by normalizing the gut microbes through FMT, this bootup of the new immune system might go more smoothly, Hohmann said. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "A fecal transplant led to a patient's death. Here's what happened.," 30 Oct. 2019 In addition to the negative impact on human health, these chemicals lead to drops in soil fertility and the collapse of microbe ecosystems essential to healthy soil. Matthew Wadiak, Quartz, "In the age of farm-to-table, only a small fraction of US farmers are profitable," 15 Oct. 2019 Now a buyer at Cookbook Market in Echo Park, Wang has expanded into leading workshops for anyone interested in the magic of microbes-meet-vegetables. Betty Hallock, latimes.com, "The secret pickle club we want to join," 21 June 2019

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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Microbe.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microbe. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on microbe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with microbe

Spanish Central: Translation of microbe

Nglish: Translation of microbe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of microbe for Arabic Speakers

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not to be intimidated or subdued

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