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[fuhng-guh s] /ˈfʌŋ gəs/
noun, plural fungi
[fuhn-jahy, fuhng-gahy] /ˈfʌn dʒaɪ, ˈfʌŋ gaɪ/ (Show IPA),
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.
Pathology. a spongy, abnormal growth, as granulation tissue formed in a wound.
Origin of fungus
1520-30; < Latin: fungus, mushroom; perhaps akin to Greek spóngos, sphóngos sponge
Related forms
[fuhn-jik] /ˈfʌn dʒɪk/ (Show IPA),
funguslike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for fungus


noun (pl) fungi (ˈfʌŋɡaɪ; ˈfʌndʒaɪ; ˈfʌndʒɪ), funguses
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
something resembling a fungus, esp in suddenly growing and spreading rapidly
(pathol) any soft tumorous growth
Derived Forms
fungic (ˈfʌndʒɪk) adjective
fungus-like, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: mushroom, fungus; probably related to Greek spongossponge
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
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Word Origin and History for fungus

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fungus in Medicine

fungus fun·gus (fŭng'gəs)
n. pl. fun·gus·es or fun·gi (fŭn'jī, fŭng'gī)
Any of numerous eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Fungi, which lack chlorophyll and vascular tissue and range in form from a single cell to a body mass of branched filamentous hyphae that often produce specialized fruiting bodies.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fungus in Science
Plural fungi (fŭn'jī, fŭng'gī)
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.

fungal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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