Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MEDICINE

Date: 1400-1500
Language: French
Origin: germe, from Latin germen 'seed, bud, germ', from gignere; GENITAL

germ

noun
     
germ [countable]
1HBMM a very small living thing that can make you ill bacteria
Put disinfectant down the toilet to kill any germs.
2

the germ of an idea/theory/feeling etc

the early stage of an idea, feeling etc that may develop into something bigger and more important:
The germ of a story began to form in his mind.
3 technical the part of a plant or animal that can develop into a new plant or animal:
germ cells containing DNA
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