Origin of bacteriophage

From the French word bactériophage, dating back to 1920–25. See bacterio-, -phage
Also called phage.
Related formsbac·te·ri·o·phag·ic [bak-teer-ee-uh-faj-ik, -fey-jik] /bækˌtɪər i əˈfædʒ ɪk, -ˈfeɪ dʒɪk/, bac·te·ri·oph·a·gous [bak-teer-ee-of-uh-guh s] /bækˌtɪər iˈɒf ə gəs/, adjectivebac·te·ri·oph·a·gy [bak-teer-ee-of-uh-jee] /bækˌtɪər iˈɒf ə dʒi/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for bacteriophage


  1. a virus that is parasitic in a bacterium and multiplies within its host, which is destroyed when the new viruses are releasedOften shortened to: phage
Derived Formsbacteriophagic (bækˌtɪərɪəˈfædʒɪk), adjectivebacteriophagous (bækˌtɪərɪˈɒfəɡəs), adjective
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 bacteriophage

1921, from French bactériophage (1917), from bacterio-, comb. form of bacteria, + -phage.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bacteriophage in Medicine


  1. A virus capable of infecting and lysing bacterial cells.phage
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

bacteriophage in Science


  1. A virus that infects and destroys bacterial cells.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.