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4 definitions found
 for germ
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  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 (Zool.), 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]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Germ \Germ\, v. i.
     To germinate. [R.] --J. Morley.
     [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  germ
      n 1: anything that provides inspiration for later work [syn:
           source, seed, germ]
      2: a small apparently simple structure (as a fertilized egg)
         from which new tissue can develop into a complete organism
      3: a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium);
         the term is not in technical use [syn: microbe, bug,
         germ]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  81 Moby Thesaurus words for "germ":
     Anlage, Euglena, adenovirus, aerobe, aerobic bacteria, amoeba,
     anaerobe, anaerobic bacteria, animalcule, bacillus, bacteria,
     bacterium, base, basis, beginning, blastula, bud, bug, coccus,
     colon bacillus, diatom, disease-producing microorganism, dyad,
     echovirus, egg, embryo, enterovirus, fetus, filterable virus,
     flagellate, fount, fungus, germen, gram-negative bacteria,
     gram-positive bacteria, larva, loins, microbe, microorganism,
     microspore, microzoa, mold, monad, nematode, nonfilterable virus,
     nucleus, nymph, origin, ovum, paramecium, pathogen, picornavirus,
     protozoa, protozoon, reovirus, rhinovirus, rickettsia, root,
     rudiment, salmonella, saprophyte, seed, source, spark,
     spermatozoon, spirillum, spirochete, spore, sporozoon,
     staphylococcus, start, streptococcus, tetrad, triad, trypanosome,
     vibrio, virus, volvox, vorticellum, zoospore, zygote
  
  

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