• synonyms


[staf-uh-luh-kok-uh s]
noun, plural staph·y·lo·coc·ci [staf-uh-luh-kok-sahy] /ˌstæf ə ləˈkɒk saɪ/. Bacteriology.
  1. any of several spherical bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus, occurring in pairs, tetrads, and irregular clusters, certain species of which, as S. aureus, can be pathogenic for humans.
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Origin of staphylococcus

From New Latin, dating back to 1885–90; see origin at staphylo-, coccus
Related formsstaph·y·lo·coc·cal [staf-uh-luh-kok-uh l] /ˌstæf ə ləˈkɒk əl/, staph·y·lo·coc·cic [staf-uh-luh-kok-sik] /ˌstæf ə ləˈkɒk sɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for staphylococcus

Historical Examples of staphylococcus

  • The attacks were so vicious that the pathologist, Captain Watson, sought for special organisms, but found only staphylococcus.

    The Australian Army Medical Corps in Egypt

    James W. Barrett

  • In a similar way we have the pus-causing grape coccus of a golden color (staphylococcus pyogenes aureus).

  • This staphylococcus occurred in almost pure culture in the udder of the cow from which the milk was derived.

    Food Poisoning

    Edwin Oakes Jordan

  • The bacterial infection was proved by culture from the eyes and nose, usually yielding the staphylococcus.

    The Treatment of Hay Fever

    George Frederick Laidlaw

  • Isolation of Staphylococcus albus from hemolymph of the roach, Blatta orientalis.

British Dictionary definitions for staphylococcus


noun plural -cocci (-ˈkɒkaɪ, US -ˈkɒksaɪ)
  1. any spherical Gram-positive bacterium of the genus Staphylococcus, typically occurring in clusters and including many pathogenic species, causing boils, infection in wounds, and septicaemia: family MicrococcaceaeOften shortened to: staph
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Derived Formsstaphylococcal (ˌstæfɪləʊˈkɒkəl) or staphylococcic (ˌstæfɪləʊˈkɒkɪk, US -ˈkɒksɪk), adjective

Word Origin for staphylococcus

C19: from staphylo- (in the sense: like a bunch of grapes) + coccus so called because of their shape
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 staphylococcus


(plural staphylococci), 1887, Modern Latin, the genus name, coined (on model of streptococcus) in 1882 by Scottish surgeon and bacteriologist Alexander Ogston (1844-1929), from Greek staphyle "bunch of grapes" (see staff (n.)) + Modern Latin coccus "spherical bacterium," from Greek kokkos "berry, grain" (see cocco-). So called because the bacteria usually bunch together in irregular masses.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

staphylococcus in Medicine


n. pl. staph•y•lo•coc•ci (-kŏksī, -kŏkī)
  1. A spherical gram-positive parasitic bacterium of the genus Staphylococcus, usually occurring in clusters and causing boils, septicemia, and other infections.
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Related formsstaph′y•lo•coccal (-kŏkəl) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

staphylococcus in Science


Plural staphylococci (stăf′ə-lō-kŏksī, -kŏkī)
  1. Any of various bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus that are gram-positive cocci and are normally found on the skin and mucous membranes of warm-blooded animals. Pathogenic strains such as S. aureus commonly cause infections of the skin, bones, lungs and other organs. Some staphylococcal disease, such as food poisoning, is caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

staphylococcus in Culture



A category of bacteria that can cause boils, blood poisoning, and other serious infections.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.