From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishgermgerm /dʒɜːm $ dʒɜːrm/ ●●○ noun [countable] 1 HBMMa very small living thing that can make you ill bacteria Put disinfectant down the toilet to kill any germs.2 the germ of an idea/theory/feeling etc3 technical the part of a plant or animal that can develop into a new plant or animal germ cells containing DNA wheatgerm, germ warfare
Examples from the Corpus
germYet there is a germ of truth in what Hadi says.She wasn't allowed in crowded places where there might be germs.It can be caused by several different germs.Cover your mouth when you cough so you won't spread germs.It kills the germs as well, leaving the whole area clean and hygienic.Many of the germs that cause disease pass from our hands into our mouths; so can environmental metal toxins like lead.These germs are small outgrowths on the skin arranged locally in a hexagonal pattern.That lofty notion spread like a virulent germ into every law school in the nation.
Origin germ (1400-1500) French germe, from Latin germen seed, bud, germ, from gignere; GENITAL