• WordNet 3.6
    • n germ a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium); the term is not in technical use
    • n germ a small apparently simple structure (as a fertilized egg) from which new tissue can develop into a complete organism
    • n germ anything that provides inspiration for later work
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When you flush a toilet, an invisible cloud of water [full of germs] shoots six feet in the air.
    • Germ 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.
    • Germ That from which anything springs; origin; first principle; as, the germ of civil liberty.
    • Germ (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. "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."
    • Germ (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.
    • v. i Germ To germinate.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: A housefly can transport germs as far as 15 miles away from the original source of contamination.
    • n germ In biology, the first rudiment of any organism; the earliest stage in the development of an organism; the simplest recognizable condition of a living thing; in botany, technically, the embryo of a seed, or, in the Linnean use of the word, the ovary. In popular language often used specifically to denote the mature spores of fungi and of other lower cryptogams, especially of injurious kinds, and, in the case of bacteria, the entire organism.
    • n germ By extension, an early or but slightly developed state of an organism; an early embryo. See embryo.
    • n germ Some or any microbe or micro-organism; a spore: as, a cholera-germ. See germicide.
    • n germ That from which anything springs or may spring as if from a seed or root; a rudimentary element; a formative principle: as, the germs of civil liberty or of prosperity.
    • n germ In pathology, the doctrine that zymotic diseases, together with some not usually classed as zymotic, are due to the presence in the body of living organisms. These organisms, which, so far as they have been positively identified, belong for the most part to the group of bacteria, produce their morbid effects by their vital activity, and probably in large part by the formation of poisons called ptomaines. This doctrine no longer rests upon indirect evidence alone, but also on the positive identification of the peccant organisms in a certain number of diseases, as in phthisis, anthrax, relapsing fever, typhoid fever, and some others. Synonyms Fetus, Rudiment. See embryo.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Germ jėrm a rudimentary form of a living thing, whether a plant or animal:
    • v.i Germ to put forth buds, sprout
    • n Germ jėrm (bot.) the seed-bud of a plant: a shoot: that from which anything springs, the origin: a first principle
    • ***


  • Thomas Dunn English
    Thomas Dunn English
    “Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”
  • Pearl S. Buck
    “Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.”
  • Orison Swett Marden
    “Every germ of goodness will at last struggle into bloom and fruitage... true success follows every right step.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. germe, fr. L. germen, germinis, sprout, but, germ. Cf. Germen Germane
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. germe—L. germen, a bud.


In literature:

An infectious material is one contaminated with germs of infection.
"The Home Medical Library, Volume V (of VI)" by Various
The meeting thus summoned was the germ of the future House of Commons.
"A Student's History of England, v. 1 (of 3)" by Samuel Rawson Gardiner
This is of course a most fortunate thing for us, for the parasitic germs are everywhere.
"Insects and Diseases" by Rennie W. Doane
Germs thrive in dampness and darkness.
"Scouting For Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts" by Girl Scouts
This fact alone of their contagion proves that from one's birth one carries the germ in himself.
"Introduction to the Science of Sociology" by Robert E. Park
Is a moneron an eternal life germ?
"The Christian Foundation, Or, Scientific and Religious Journal," by Various
Work will keep you from worry, so back you go to your darling germs.
"Counsel for the Defense" by Leroy Scott
It plants hard problems as seeds, rears these germs into trees, and from them garners the ripe fruit.
"A Man's Value to Society" by Newell Dwight Hillis
The new institution protects and stimulates the germs of the moral instincts by which it must be worked.
"Social Rights and Duties, Volume I (of 2)" by Sir Leslie Stephen
Germs cannot live more than a few minutes in sunlight.
"How Girls Can Help Their Country" by Juliette Low

In poetry:

While days and weeks pass gently by,
How little do we deem that these
Are germs of immortality—
The buds of mightiest destinies!
"Autumn: Sunday Morning" by John Bowring
"Know'st thou not all germs of evil
In thy heart await their time?
Not thyself, but God's restraining,
Stays their growth of crime.
"What The Voice Said" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Leave me alone with sleep that knows
Not any thing that life may keep--
Not e'en the pulse that comes and goes
In germs that climb and creep.
"Nightfall" by Madison Julius Cawein
How rent, but spinning still, 'twas sphered
In star, and orb, and planet,
Where, as it cooled, live germs appeared
In lias, sand, and granite:
"The Owl And The Lark" by Alfred Austin
"Spring-germs, spring-germs,
Albeit the towns have left you place to play,
I charge you, sport not. Winter owns to-day,
Stay: feed the worms."
"Tyranny." by Sidney Lanier
As yet the turf is dark, although you know
That, not a span below,
A thousand germs are groping through the gloom,
And soon will burst their tomb.
"Spring" by Henry Timrod

In news:

These studies cited by Dr Gerba of the University of Arizona, whose colleagues call "Dr. Germ ," had me thinking twice about filling up.
You already know your bathroom at work is loaded with germs .
You may think the bathroom at work is the place with the most germs , but experts say the office break room is the top germ "hot spot," according to a new study.
Germ cell tumor metastatic to the oral cavity.
Then go around the house with cotton swabs and choose areas to collect germs .
LD and ED thought the toilet would have the most germs .
Dad and I have seen shows and thought the kitchen sink would have the most germs .
There's no way to avoid germs altogether during the winter germ season, but you can take action by recognizing some of the most common areas where germs tend to congregate.
While you likely know these basics, you might not be aware some of the most common places germs tend to congregate and spread.
Nationwide, the places with the most germs are also often unexpected places, a new study by the Kimberly Clark Healthy Workplace Project showed.
Thousands of kids touch thousands of toys, and leave behind millions of germs .
Display items you can touch…like cameras and cell phones…are absolutely COVERED in germs .
Emilio Emini's battle with germs started early, when he was a working-class kid growing up on Sullivan Street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village and was one of the first kids to get the oral polio vaccine—administered on a sugar cube.
Right this way, ladies and germs .
And now a study funded in part by his legacy foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, provides what may be one of the most thorough assessments so far of the germs that lurk in public restrooms.

In science:

An irreducible curve singularity at the origin in Cn can be described by a germ of a complex analytic map f : (C, 0) → (Cn , 0).
Simple singularities of multigerms of curves
By Mn denote the ring of germs of analytic maps (Cn , 0) → (C, 0).
Simple singularities of multigerms of curves
Mn is ideal in the ring of germs of analytic maps (Cn , 0) → C.
Simple singularities of multigerms of curves
Definition: Let f be a germ of a curve in (Cn , 0).
Simple singularities of multigerms of curves
We refer to p as the multiplicity of the germ, and to the pair (p, q) as the invariant pair (see ).
Simple singularities of multigerms of curves