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1 definition found
 for bacteriophages
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Virus \Vi"rus\, n. [L., a slimy liquid, a poisonous liquid,
     poison, stench; akin to Gr. ? poison, Skr. visha. Cf.
     Wizen, v. i.]
     1. (Med.) Contagious or poisonous matter, as of specific
        ulcers, the bite of snakes, etc.; -- applied to organic
        poisons. [Archaic]
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
     2. the causative agent of a disease, . [obsolescent]
     3. any of numerous submicroscopic complex organic objects
        which have genetic material and may be considered as
        living organisms but have no proper cell membrane, and
        thus cannot by themselves perform metabolic processes,
        requiring entry into a host cell in order to multiply. The
        simplest viruses have no lipid envelope and may be
        considered as complex aggregates of molecules, sometimes
        only a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) and a coat protein. They
        are sometimes viewed as being on the borderline between
        living and nonliving objects. They are smaller than living
        cells in size, usually between 20 and 300 nm; thus they
        pass through standard filters, and were previously
        referred to as filterable virus. The manifestations of
        disease caused by multiplication of viruses in cells may
        be due to destruction of the cells caused by subversion of
        the cellular metabolic processes by the virus, or by
        synthesis of a virus-specific toxin. Viruses may infect
        animals, plants, or microorganisms; those infecting
        bacteria are also called bacteriophages. Certain
        bacteriophages may be non-destructive and benign in the
        host; -- see bacteriophage.
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
     4. Fig.: Any morbid corrupting quality in intellectual or
        moral conditions; something that poisons the mind or the
        soul; as, the virus of obscene books.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. (Computers) a program or segment of program code that may
        make copies of itself (replicate), attach itself to other
        programs, and perform unwanted actions within a computer;
        also called computer virus or virus program. Such
        programs are almost always introduced into a computer
        without the knowledge or assent of its owner, and are
        often malicious, causing destructive actions such as
        erasing data on disk, but sometime only annoying, causing
        peculiar objects to appear on the display. The form of
        sociopathic mental disease that causes a programmer to
        write such a program has not yet been given a name.
        Compare trojan horse[3].

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