Germ Germ (j[~e]rm), n. [F. germe, fr. L. germen, germinis, sprout, but, germ. Cf. {Germen}, {Germane}.] 1. (Biol.) That which is to develop a new individual; as, the germ of a fetus, of a plant or flower, and the like; the earliest form under which an organism appears. [1913 Webster]

In the entire process in which a new being originates . . . two distinct classes of action participate; namely, the act of generation by which the germ is produced; and the act of development, by which that germ is evolved into the complete organism. --Carpenter. [1913 Webster]

2. That from which anything springs; origin; first principle; as, the germ of civil liberty. [1913 Webster]

3. (Biol.) The germ cells, collectively, as distinguished from the somatic cells, or {soma}. Germ is often used in place of germinal to form phrases; as, germ area, germ disc, germ membrane, germ nucleus, germ sac, etc. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

4. A microorganism, especially a disease-causing bacterium or virus; -- used informally, as, the don't eat food that falls on the floor, it may have germs on it. [PJC]

{Disease germ} (Biol.), a name applied to certain tiny bacterial organisms or their spores, such as {Anthrax bacillus} and the {Micrococcus} of fowl cholera, which have been demonstrated to be the cause of certain diseases; same as germ[4]. See {Germ theory} (below).

{Germ cell} (Biol.), the germ, egg, spore, or cell from which the plant or animal arises. At one time a part of the body of the parent, it finally becomes detached, and by a process of multiplication and growth gives rise to a mass of cells, which ultimately form a new individual like the parent. See {Ovum}.

{Germ gland}. (Anat.) See {Gonad}.

{Germ stock} (Zo["o]l.), a special process on which buds are developed in certain animals. See {Doliolum}.

{Germ theory} (Biol.), the theory that living organisms can be produced only by the evolution or development of living germs or seeds. See {Biogenesis}, and {Abiogenesis}. As applied to the origin of disease, the theory claims that the zymotic diseases are due to the rapid development and multiplication of various bacteria, the germs or spores of which are either contained in the organism itself, or transferred through the air or water. See {Fermentation theory}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Germ — can mean: * Microorganism, especially a pathogenic one; see Germ theory of disease. * Germ cell, a cell that has all the information to grow into a complete adult organism. * The Germ (periodical), a periodical established by the Pre Raphaelite… …   Wikipedia

  • germ — [dʒə:m US dʒə:rm] n [Date: 1400 1500; : French; Origin: germe, from Latin germen seed, bud, germ , from gignere; GENITAL] 1.) a very small living thing that can make you ill →↑bacteria ▪ Put disinfectant down the toilet to kill any germs. 2.) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • germ — (n.) mid 15c., bud, sprout; 1640s, rudiment of a new organism in an existing one, from M.Fr. germe germ (of egg); bud, seed, fruit; offering, from L. germen (gen. germinis) sprout, bud, perhaps from PIE root *gen to beget, bear (see GENUS (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Germ — bezeichnet: Backhefe einen deutschen Rapper, siehe Germ (MC) eine französische Gemeinde, siehe Germ (Hautes Pyrénées) Die Abkürzung germ. steht für: germanisch (g.), vergleiche Germanische Sprachen Siehe auch: Germknödel …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Germ — País …   Wikipedia Español

  • germ — [ dʒɜrm ] noun 1. ) count a form of bacteria that spreads disease among people or animals: Strep is very different from the germ that causes ordinary sore throats. 2. ) singular something that could develop into a greater idea or plan: the germ… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • germ — [jʉrm] n. [ME germe, a bud, sprout < OFr < L germen, sprig, bud, germ, embryo < IE * gen men (> Sans janiman , birth, origin) < base * ĝen : see GENUS] 1. the rudimentary form from which a new organism is developed; seed; bud 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • Germ — Germ, v. i. To germinate. [R.] J. Morley. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • germ — germ, microbe, bacterium, bacillus, virus, though not strict synonyms, are comparable because all denote organisms invisible to the naked eye, including organisms that are the causative agents of various diseases. Germ and microbe are the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • germ — [n1] microscopic organism, often causing illness antibody, bacterium, bug*, disease, microbe, microorganism, parasite, pathogen, plague, virus, what’s going around*; concepts 306,392 germ [n2] beginning bud, cause, egg, embryo, inception, nucleus …   New thesaurus

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