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

Definition of microbe

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

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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 Neutralizing antibodies are also easily duped by mutations that even slightly rejigger a microbe’s superficial features. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 14 Dec. 2021 But a protein made by a common microbe could help ease this hazardous burden, researchers report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Nikk Ogasa, Scientific American, 19 Nov. 2021 The blinding incident causes a curious chain reaction: There are bloodthirsty beetles, crawling insects, a human infected by a microbe-carrying mosquito. Tomris Laffly, Variety, 3 Sep. 2021 To stop microbe-carrying droplets from spreading in an orchestra, turn the seating arrangement inside out. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 June 2021 Fynd’s products use a protein made from a microbe sourced from the volcanic hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, 29 Oct. 2021 As the film progresses, the anchor begins to report on the emergence of a new drug-resistant microbe and its unstoppable spread. Arjan Brentjes, The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2021 Scientists also have the option of using bodily reactions to a microbe as a readout—if a person’s immune cells, for example, produce more antibodies, secrete alarm molecules, or rush to the site of infection. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 9 Sep. 2021 Then, on Halloween, at a microbe-engineering competition in Boston two worlds briefly crossed orbits. Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021

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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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Microbe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microbe. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for microbe



English Language Learners Definition of microbe

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


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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