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See more synonyms for microbe on Thesaurus.com
  1. a microorganism, especially a pathogenic bacterium.
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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. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for microbic

Historical Examples

  • I've seen cases of it, and not necessarily in microbic diseases either.

    The Man from Archangel

    A. Conan Doyle

  • (c) But besides violent death and microbic (or parasitic) death, there is natural death.

  • These results are far from constituting evidence in favor of the microbic origin of scurvy.

    Scurvy Past and Present

    Alfred Fabian Hess

  • Renal disturbance is often the result of the excretion of microbic poisons.

  • Also, remembering the microbic origin of the disease, gargling and nasal syringing should be repeated at intervals.

British Dictionary definitions for microbic


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

Word Origin

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 microbic



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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

microbic in Medicine


  1. A microorganism, especially a bacterium that causes disease; a minute life form. No longer in technical use.
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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.

microbic in Science


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