path·o·gen | \ ˈpa-thə-jən \

Definition of pathogen 

: a specific causative agent (such as a bacterium or virus) of disease

Examples of pathogen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Washing the produces won't completely eliminate the pathogens. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Del Monte Veggies Linked to Parasite Outbreak That's Sickened More Than 200 People Already," 9 July 2018 The pathogen wiped out sea stars along huge swaths of the coast from Mexico to Alaska and also went on a rampage through the Olympic Coast, in Washington state. Peter Fimrite,, "Starfish on California coast, nearly wiped out by mystery illness, make stunning recovery," 22 June 2018 Traditionally, a foodborne illness diagnosis (determined by a stool sample) is reported to local and state health departments that work with the CDC try to drill down to the source of the pathogen. Corilyn Shropshire,, "Food recalls explained: Why it seems like food contamination is on the rise," 19 June 2018 In one approach, researchers can vaccinate people and then expose them to the pathogen that the vaccine targets. Helen Branswell, STAT, "‘You’re holding your breath’: Scientists who toiled for years on an Ebola vaccine see the first one put to the test," 22 May 2018 The pathogen could have contaminated surrounding water, raising a concern for its potential to affect native Pacific salmon, Warheit said. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Washington state finds virus in Cooke Atlantic salmon, plans expanded testing," 19 May 2018 The pathogens get loose in the world, infecting a gator in Florida, a wolf in the Rockies, and a gorilla at the San Diego zoo where Davis Okoye (Johnson) supervises the animals. Gary Thompson,, "'Rampage': The Rock in a hard place | Movie review," 11 Apr. 2018 These antibodies coat the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs and other mucus membranes, which constantly come into contact with pathogens. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Overlooked antibodies play star role in fighting flu, Scripps Research-led study finds," 6 Apr. 2018 Researchers have also considered whether the sharp mussels cut dogs' mouths and throats, opening lanes for pathogens. Tim Prudente,, "Explosion of false dark mussels revives hopes for clearer waters and concern for dogs in Anne Arundel County," 11 July 2018

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

1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pathogen

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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The first known use of pathogen was in 1880

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English Language Learners Definition of pathogen

medical : something (such as a type of bacteria or a virus) that causes disease


patho·gen | \ ˈpath-ə-jən \

Medical Definition of pathogen 

: a specific causative agent (as a bacterium or virus) of disease

More from Merriam-Webster on pathogen

Britannica English: Translation of pathogen for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pathogen

Comments on pathogen

What made you want to look up pathogen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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