[ ak-tin-oh-mahy-seet, -mahy-seet, ak-tuh-noh- ]
/ ækˌtɪn oʊˈmaɪ sit, -maɪˈsit, ˌæk tə noʊ- /

noun Bacteriology.

any of several rod-shaped or filamentous, aerobic or anaerobic bacteria of the phylum Chlamydobacteriae, or in some classification schemes, the order Actinomycetales, certain species of which are pathogenic for humans and animals.

Nearby words

  1. actinomyces,
  2. actinomyces bovis,
  3. actinomyces israelii,
  4. actinomycetaceae,
  5. actinomycetales,
  6. actinomycin,
  7. actinomycoma,
  8. actinomycosis,
  9. actinon,
  10. actinopod

Origin of actinomycete

1915–20; probably through construal of New Latin Actinomycetes (plural of actinomyces) as an E plural noun; see -mycete

Related formsac·tin·o·my·cet·ous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for actinomycete


/ (ˌæktɪnəʊmaɪˈsiːt) /


any bacterium of the group Actinomycetes, usually filamentous in form

Word Origin for actinomycete

C20: from actino- + -mycete

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

Medicine definitions for actinomycete


[ ăk′tə-nō-mīsēt′, -mī-sēt ]


Any of various filamentous or rod-shaped, often pathogenic microorganisms of the genus Actinomyces.
A member of the family Actinomycetaceae.
A member of the order Actinomycetales.
Related formsac′ti•no•my•cetous adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for actinomycete


[ ăk′tə-nō-mīsēt′ ]

Any of various bacteria belonging to the phylum Actinobacteria that grow as branching filaments resembling fungal hyphae and are found in soil. The filaments often grow in colonies but sometimes break off into rod-shaped structures. Many species of actinomycetes produce important antibiotics such as streptomycin, while others are pathogenic in humans and other animals, especially for skin diseases. One species lives symbiotically in the roots of alders and conducts nitrogen fixation. Because of their resemblance to fungi, actinomycetes were once classified as fungi.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.