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Definition: Disease germ
(j[~e]rm), n. [F. germe, fr. L. germen, germinis,
sprout, but, germ. Cf. Germen
1. (Biol.) That which is to develop a new individual; as, the
germ of a fetus, of a plant or flower, and the like; the
earliest form under which an organism appears.
In the entire process in which a new being
originates . . . two distinct classes of action
participate; namely, the act of generation by which
the germ is produced; and the act of development, by
which that germ is evolved into the complete
2. That from which anything springs; origin; first principle;
as, the germ of civil liberty.
3. (Biol.) The germ cells, collectively, as distinguished
from the somatic cells, or soma
. Germ is often used in
place of germinal to form phrases; as, germ area, germ
disc, germ membrane, germ nucleus, germ sac, etc.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
4. A microorganism, especially a disease-causing bacterium or
virus; -- used informally, as, the don't eat food that
falls on the floor, it may have germs on it.
(Biol.), a name applied to certain tiny
bacterial organisms or their spores, such as Anthrax bacillus
and the Micrococcus
of fowl cholera, which
have been demonstrated to be the cause of certain
diseases; same as germ. See Germ theory
(Biol.), the germ, egg, spore, or cell from which
the plant or animal arises. At one time a part of the body
of the parent, it finally becomes detached, and by a
process of multiplication and growth gives rise to a mass
of cells, which ultimately form a new individual like the
parent. See Ovum
. (Anat.) See Gonad
(Zo["o]l.), a special process on which buds are
developed in certain animals. See Doliolum
(Biol.), the theory that living organisms can
be produced only by the evolution or development of living
germs or seeds. See Biogenesis
, and Abiogenesis
applied to the origin of disease, the theory claims that
the zymotic diseases are due to the rapid development and
multiplication of various bacteria, the germs or spores of
which are either contained in the organism itself, or
transferred through the air or water. See Fermentation theory
, n. [OE. disese, OF. desaise; des- (L. dis-)
+ aise ease. See Ease
1. Lack of ease; uneasiness; trouble; vexation; disquiet.
So all that night they passed in great disease.
To shield thee from diseases of the world. --Shak.
2. An alteration in the state of the body or of some of its
organs, interrupting or disturbing the performance of the
vital functions, and causing or threatening pain and
weakness; malady; affection; illness; sickness; disorder;
-- applied figuratively to the mind, to the moral
character and habits, to institutions, the state, etc.
Diseases desperate grown,
By desperate appliances are relieved. --Shak.
The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced
into the public counsels have, in truth, been the
mortal diseases under which popular governments have
every where perished. --Madison.
. See under Germ
Syn: Distemper; ailing; ailment; malady; disorder; sickness;
illness; complaint; indisposition; affection. --
. Disease is the leading medical term.
Disorder mean? much the same, with perhaps some slight
reference to an irregularity of the system. Distemper is
now used by physicians only of the diseases of animals.
Malady is not a medical term, and is less used than
formerly in literature. Affection has special reference
to the part, organ, or function disturbed; as, his
disease is an affection of the lungs. A disease is
usually deep-seated and permanent, or at least
prolonged; a disorder is often slight, partial, and
temporary; malady has less of a technical sense than the
other terms, and refers more especially to the suffering
endured. In a figurative sense we speak of a disease
mind, of disordered faculties, and of mental maladies.