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2 definitions found
 for bacterium
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Bacterium \Bac*te"ri*um\ (b[a^]k*t[=e]"r[i^]*[u^]m), n.; pl.
     Bacteria (b[a^]k*t[=e]"r[i^]*[.a]). [NL., fr. Gr.
     bakth`rion, ba`ktron, a staff: cf. F. bact['e]rie.] (Biol.)
     A microscopic single-celled organism having no
     distinguishable nucleus, belonging to the kingdom Monera.
     Bacteria have varying shapes, usually taking the form of a
     jointed rodlike filament, or a small sphere, but also in
     certain cases having a branched form. Bacteria are destitute
     of chlorophyll, but in those members of the phylum Cyanophyta
     (the blue-green algae) other light-absorbing pigments are
     present. They are the smallest of microscopic organisms which
     have their own metabolic processes carried on within cell
     membranes, viruses being smaller but not capable of living
     freely. The bacteria are very widely diffused in nature, and
     multiply with marvelous rapidity, both by fission and by
     spores. Bacteria may require oxygen for their
     energy-producing metabolism, and these are called aerobes;
     or may multiply in the absence of oxygen, these forms being
     anaerobes. Certain species are active agents in
     fermentation, while others appear to be the cause of certain
     infectious diseases. The branch of science with studies
     bacteria is bacteriology, being a division of
     microbiology. See Bacillus.
     [1913 Webster +PJC]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: (microbiology) single-celled or noncellular spherical or
           spiral or rod-shaped organisms lacking chlorophyll that
           reproduce by fission; important as pathogens and for
           biochemical properties; taxonomy is difficult; often
           considered to be plants [syn: bacteria, bacterium]

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