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) , -​(ˌ)kē ; -​ˈkäk-​ˌsī , -​(ˌ)sē \

Definition of staphylococcus

: 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 But potentially even more concerning are the pathogens that might cause pandemics because of their drug-resistant status, such as tuberculosis and staphylococcus, which are already widespread in many parts of the world. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, 9 May 2022 Also, some of the bacteria under nails can be found on the skin like staphylococcus which can lead to an infection. Asha C. Gilbert, USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2022 The milk gets tested first to make sure it’s not treated with antibiotics, which are forbidden, and next for staphylococcus, E. coli, salmonella and two other bacteria contaminants. Joshua Levine, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Nov. 2021 That physician failed to identify a dangerous staphylococcus bacterial infection on Ed Palent's arm, which was later diagnosed by a dermatologist. Judith Graham, CNN, 17 Oct. 2021 Two common infectious triggers include streptococcal and staphylococcus infections, says Golant. Jillian Krame, Glamour, 20 July 2021 Toxic shock syndrome is specifically caused by some types of staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria that produce toxins, the Mayo Clinic explains. Lauren Gruber, SELF, 16 June 2021 For 10 minutes, the device will utilize UV-C light to kill up to 99% of germs and bacteria, including E. coli and staphylococcus. Kara Cuzzone, Forbes, 10 June 2021 As early as 1947, penicillin-resistant staphylococcus bacteria were found in hospitals in England, but few heeded Fleming’s warning. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, 14 Dec. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'staphylococcus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of staphylococcus

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for staphylococcus

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

Learn More About staphylococcus

Time Traveler for staphylococcus

Time Traveler

The first known use of staphylococcus was in 1887

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near staphylococcus




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for staphylococcus

Cite this Entry

“Staphylococcus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for staphylococcus


staph·​y·​lo·​coc·​cus | \ ˌstaf-ə-lō-ˈkäk-əs How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio) \

Medical Definition of staphylococcus

1 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)
2 plural staphylococci\ -​ˈkäk-​ˌ(s)ī How to pronounce staphylococcus (audio) \ : any bacterium of the genus Staphylococcus broadly : micrococcus sense 2

More from Merriam-Webster on staphylococcus Encyclopedia article about staphylococcus


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!