[ fuhng-guhs ]
/ ˈfʌŋ gəs /
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noun, plural fun·gi [fuhn-jahy, fuhng-gahy], /ˈfʌn dʒaɪ, ˈfʌŋ gaɪ/, fun·gus·es.
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.
fungal: a fungus infection of the toenails.
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Origin of fungus

First recorded in 1520–30; from Latin: “fungus, mushroom”; perhaps akin to Greek spóngos, sphóngos sponge


fun·gic [fuhn-jik], /ˈfʌn dʒɪk/, adjectivefun·gus·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use fungus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fungus

/ (ˈfʌŋɡəs) /

noun plural fungi (ˈfʌŋɡaɪ, ˈfʌndʒaɪ, ˈfʌndʒɪ) or 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 of fungus

fungic (ˈfʌndʒɪk), adjectivefungus-like, adjective

Word Origin for fungus

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

Medical definitions for fungus

[ fŭnggəs ]

n. pl. fun•gi (fŭnjī, fŭng)
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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for fungus

[ fŭnggəs ]

Plural fungi (fŭnjī, fŭng)
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.

Other words from fungus

fungal adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.