- the rudimentary form from which a new organism is developed; seed; bud
- any microscopic organism, esp. one of the bacteria, that can cause disease
- that from which something can develop or grow; basis: the germ of an idea
Origin of germMiddle English germe, a bud, sprout from Old French from Classical Latin germen, sprig, bud, germ, embryo from Indo-European an unverified form gen-men (from source Sanskrit janiman-, birth, origin) from base an unverified form ?en-: see genus
- Biology A small mass of protoplasm or cells from which a new organism or one of its parts may develop.
- The earliest form of an organism; a seed, bud, or spore.
- A microorganism, especially a pathogen.
- Something that may serve as the basis of further growth or development: the germ of a project.
Origin of germMiddle English bud from Old French germe from Latin germen ; see genə- in Indo-European roots.
- (UK, derogatory) a German person.
AbbreviationsSee also: germ.
- Abbreviation of German.