E. Coli Definition

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A species of Gram-negative bacteria normally present in the intestines of all vertebrates and widely used in biological research: its presence in water in certain quantities indicates fecal pollution that can cause diarrhea.
Webster's New World

Entamoeba coli, a species of non-pathogenic amoeba, Entamoeba, that resides in the gastrointestinal tract of some animals, including humans.


Escherichia coli, a group of gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia, that reside in the intestinal tracts of humans and many animals. Many strains of these bacteria are harmful and can cause food poisoning (urinary infections and enteritis).


Origin of E. Coli

  • New Latin E(scherichia) colī species name after Theodor Escherich (1857–1911), German physician Latin colī genitive of colon colon colon2

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Abbreviation of Entamoeba (“genus of types of ameobas”) + Latin coli, genitive of colum (“colon”)

    From Wiktionary

  • Abbreviation of Escherichia (“genus of bacteria”) + Latin coli, genitive of colum (“colon”)

    From Wiktionary