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fungus

[fuhng-guh s]
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noun, plural fun·gi [fuhn-jahy, fuhng-gahy] /ˈfʌn dʒaɪ, ˈfʌŋ gaɪ/, fun·gus·es.
  1. any of a diverse group of eukaryotic single-celled or multinucleate organisms that live by decomposing and absorbing the organic material in which they grow, comprising the mushrooms, molds, mildews, smuts, rusts, and yeasts, and classified in the kingdom Fungi or, in some classification systems, in the division Fungi (Thallophyta) of the kingdom Plantae.
  2. Pathology. a spongy, abnormal growth, as granulation tissue formed in a wound.
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adjective
  1. fungous.
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Origin of fungus

1520–30; < Latin: fungus, mushroom; perhaps akin to Greek spóngos, sphóngos sponge
Related formsfun·gic [fuhn-jik] /ˈfʌn dʒɪk/, adjectivefun·gus·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for fungus

fungus

noun plural fungi (ˈfʌŋɡaɪ, ˈfʌndʒaɪ, ˈfʌndʒɪ) or funguses
  1. any member of a kingdom of organisms (Fungi) that lack chlorophyll, leaves, true stems, and roots, reproduce by spores, and live as saprotrophs or parasites. The group includes moulds, mildews, rusts, yeasts, and mushrooms
  2. something resembling a fungus, esp in suddenly growing and spreading rapidly
  3. pathol any soft tumorous growth
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Derived Formsfungic (ˈfʌndʒɪk), adjectivefungus-like, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Latin: mushroom, fungus; probably related to Greek spongos sponge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fungus

n.

1520s, from Latin fungus "a mushroom," in English as a learned alternative to mushroom. (Funge was used in this sense late 14c.) The Latin word is believed to be cognate with (or derived from) Greek sphongos, the Attic form of spongos "sponge" (see sponge).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fungus in Medicine

fungus

(fŭnggəs)
n. pl. fun•gi (fŭnjī, fŭng)
  1. Any of numerous eukaryotic organisms that reproduce by spores. The spores of most fungi grow a network of slender tubes called hyphae that spread into and feed off of dead organic matter or living organisms. The hyphae often produce specialized reproductive bodies, such as mushrooms.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

fungus in Science

fungus

[fŭnggəs]
Plural fungi (fŭnjī, fŭng)
  1. Any of a wide variety of organisms that reproduce by spores, including the mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildews. The spores of most fungi grow a network of slender tubes called hyphae that spread into and feed off of dead organic matter or living organisms. Fungi absorb food by excreting enzymes that break down complex substances into molecules that can be absorbed into the hyphae. The hyphae also produce reproductive structures, such as mushrooms and other growths. Some fungi (called perfect fungi) can reproduce by both sexually produced spores and asexual spores; other fungi (called imperfect fungi or deuteromycetes) are thought to have lost their sexual stage and can only reproduce by asexual spores. Fungi can live in a wide variety of environments, and fungal spores can survive extreme temperatures. Fungi exist in over 100,000 species, nearly all of which live on land. They can be extremely destructive, feeding on almost any kind of material and causing food spoilage and many plant diseases. Although fungi were once grouped with plants, they are now considered a separate kingdom in taxonomy. See Table at taxonomy.
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Related formsfungal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.