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From Middle French germe, from Latin germen (bud, seed, embryo).



germ (plural germs)

  1. (biology) The small mass of cells from which a new organism develops; a seed, bud or spore.
  2. A pathogenic microorganism.
    • 1895, H. G. Wells, The Stolen Bacillus
      'This again,' said the Bacteriologist, slipping a glass slide under the microscope, 'is a preparation of the celebrated Bacillus of cholera - the cholera germ.'
  3. The embryo of a seed, especially of a seed used as a cereal or grain. See Wikipedia article on cereal germ.
  4. (figuratively) The origin of an idea or project.
    the germ of civil liberty
  5. (mathematics) An equivalence class that includes a specified function defined in an open neighborhood.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


germ (third-person singular simple present germs, present participle germing, simple past and past participle germed)

  1. To germinate.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      O for a withering curse to blast the germing of their wicked machinations.
    • Thomas Hardy
      Thus tempted, the lust to avenge me / Germed inly and grew.
  2. (slang) To grow, as if parasitic.
    • "I’m addicted, want to germ inside your love" - Just Can't Get Enough by the Black Eyed Peas

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit




From Proto-Iranian *garmáh, from Proto-Indo-Iranian *gʰarmás, from Proto-Indo-European *gʷʰor-mó-s. Cognate with Persian گرم(garm) and English warm.



  1. warm