a microorganism, especially a pathogenic bacterium.

Origin of microbe

1880–85; < French < Greek mīkro- micro- + bíos life
Related formsmi·crobe·less, adjectivemi·cro·bi·al, mi·cro·bic, mi·cro·bi·an, adjectivenon·mi·cro·bic, adjectiveun·mi·cro·bi·al, adjectiveun·mi·cro·bic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for microbe

microorganism, germ, virus, bug, bacterium, bacillus, pathogen, crud, plague

Examples from the Web for microbe

Contemporary Examples of microbe

Historical Examples of microbe

British Dictionary definitions for microbe



any microscopic organism, esp a disease-causing bacterium
Derived Formsmicrobial, microbic or rare microbian, adjective

Word Origin for microbe

C19: from French, from micro- + Greek bios life
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 microbe

popular name for a bacterium, 1878, from French microbe, "badly coined ... by Sédillot" [Weekley] in 1878 from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + bios "life" (see bio-). It is an incorrect use of bios; in Greek the word would mean literally "short-lived."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

microbe in Medicine




A microorganism, especially a bacterium that causes disease; a minute life form. No longer in technical use.
Related formsmi•crobi•al (mī-krōbē-əl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

microbe in Science



A microorganism, especially a bacterium that causes disease. See Note at germ.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.