staph·​y·​lo·​coc·​cus ˌsta-f(ə-)lō-ˈkä-kəs How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio)
plural staphylococci ˌsta-f(ə-)lō-ˈkä-ˌkī How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio)
: any of a genus (Staphylococcus) of nonmotile gram-positive spherical bacteria that occur singly, in pairs or tetrads, or in irregular clusters and include causative agents of various diseases (such as skin infections, food poisoning, and endocarditis)

Examples of staphylococcus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Staph infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria and usually only cause minor skin infections, according to the Mayo Clinic, though the infections can become more serious if the bacteria enters the bloodstream and travels to the host's bones, heart or lungs. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 24 Aug. 2023 Lucy Moreton, an officer and former general secretary of the Union for Borders, Immigration and Customs, said that illnesses such as drug-resistant staphylococcus infections, scabies and diphtheria had all been detected among asylum seekers at Manston. Euan Ward, New York Times, 4 Nov. 2022 This 1997 study showed that undiluted vinegar had some effect on E. coli and salmonella, but a study conducted in 2000 showed no real impact against E. coli or S. aureus, the common staphylococcus bacteria responsible for most skin and soft tissue infections. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 30 Aug. 2021 The last decades have seen the evolution of virulent, antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus germs (MRSA), now spread worldwide, along with potentially lethal strains of Clostridium difficile, a usually benign intestinal infection. Wendy Orent, Discover Magazine, 25 Apr. 2012 The letter said records that the group obtained showed instances of pathogens, such as antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus and herpes B virus, that may have been transported without proper containment measures. Reuters, NBC News, 9 Feb. 2023 For example, the implants may have been contaminated with antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus, herpes B virus, and other pathogens. Justine Calma, The Verge, 9 Feb. 2023 Bacterial infections can include cat scratch disease, campylobacter, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and salmonella. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 17 Mar. 2022 Additionally, cockroaches carry bacteria on the surface of their bodies that can cause streptococcus, salmonella and staphylococcus if left in food. Caitlin McLean, USA TODAY, 14 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'staphylococcus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Greek staphylē bunch of grapes + New Latin -coccus

First Known Use

1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of staphylococcus was in 1887

Dictionary Entries Near staphylococcus

Cite this Entry

“Staphylococcus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


staph·​y·​lo·​coc·​cus ˌstaf-(ə-)lō-ˈkäk-əs How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio)
plural staphylococci -ˈkäk-ˌ(s)ī How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio)
: any of a group of round bacteria that cause various diseases (as food poisoning and skin infections) and that occur especially in irregular clusters
also staphylococcic

Medical Definition


staph·​y·​lo·​coc·​cus ˌstaf-ə-lō-ˈkäk-əs How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio)
capitalized : a genus of nonmotile gram-positive spherical bacteria that is placed in either of two families (Staphylococcaceae or Micrococcaceae), contains forms occurring singly, in pairs or tetrads, or in irregular clusters, and includes causative agents of various diseases and disorders (as food poisoning, skin infections, and endocarditis)
plural staphylococci -ˈkäk-ˌ(s)ī How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio) : any bacterium of the genus Staphylococcus

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