1. a combining form meaning “bacteria,” used in the formation of compound words:

    bactericide; bacteriuria.

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of bacteri-1

< Greek baktḗrion little staff; bacterium


Discover More

Words That Use bacteri-

What does bacteri- mean?

Bacteri- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “bacteria,” microscopic single-celled organisms. It is very occasionally used in scientific terms, especially in biology and pathology.

Bacteri- comes from Greek baktḗria, meaning “staff, cane.” Discover how the word for “staff” came to denote microorganisms at our entry for bacterium.

What are variants of bacteri-?

Bacteri- is a variant of bacterio-, which loses its -o- when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. Another variant of bacteri- is bacter-, as in bacterin. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use bacter and bacterio articles.

From a related Greek word, báktron, which means “stick,” English inherits the combining form -bacter. Want to learn more? Check out our Words That Use article for bacter.

Related to both baktḗria and báktron is the Latin noun baculum, “staff,” which is the source of the combining form bacill-, which refers to a type of rod-shaped bacteria, and baguette, a rod-shaped loaf of bread.

Examples of bacteri-

One example of a technical term that features the form bacteri- is bactericide, “any substance capable of killing bacteria.”

The form bacteri- means “bacteria,” while the -cide part of the word means “killer,” from Latin caedere, “to kill.” Bactericide literally translates to “bacteria killer.”

What are some words that use the combining form bacteri-?

What are some other forms that bacteri- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form -uria has a variety of meanings, including “presence in the urine.” With this in mind, what is the medical condition bacteriuria?