germ

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germ / jərm/ • n. 1. a microorganism, esp. one that causes disease. 2. a portion of an organism capable of developing into a new one or part of one. Compare with germ cell. ∎  the embryo in a cereal grain or other plant seed. Compare with wheat germ. ∎  an initial stage from which something may develop: the germ of a brilliant idea. DERIVATIVES: germ·y adj. ( inf. , in sense 1).

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germaffirm, berm, confirm, firm, germ, herm, midterm, perm, sperm, squirm, term, therm, worm •pachyderm • echinoderm •wheatgerm • endosperm •gymnosperm • isogeotherm •ragworm • flatworm • threadworm •tapeworm •eelworm, mealworm •silkworm • ringworm • inchworm •blindworm • lobworm • roundworm •slow-worm • screw worm •woodworm •bookworm, hookworm •bloodworm • lugworm • lungworm •earthworm

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germ (jerm) n. any microorganism, especially one that causes disease. See also infection.

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germ rudimentary form. XVII. — (O)F. germe :- L. germen sprout. Preceded by germen XVII, which remains in botanical use.

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germ Popular term for any infectious agent. Germs can be bacteria, fungi or viruses. In biology, it denotes a rudimentary stage in plant growth.