germ (JH ER M)



1    the rudimentary form from which a new organism is developed; seed; bud

2    any microscopic organism, esp. one of the bacteria, that can cause disease

3    that from which something can develop or grow; basis [the germ of an idea]

[ME germe, a bud, sprout < OFr < L germen, sprig, bud, germ, embryo < IE * gen-men (> Sans janiman, birth, origin) < base *Ĝen- : see GENUS ]

©1995 Webster New World Dictionary

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