A germ is a tiny life form that spreads disease. Germs are also small things that grow into larger things — whether animals, plants, or ideas.

Germ is not a technical term, but you've probably heard it used in reference to tiny organisms (such as bacteria) that cause disease. A germ is also any small structure, such as a fertilized egg, that grows into something larger. A seed that grows into a plant is a germ. In some cases, you can talk about ideas as germs. The inspiration for a book or movie can be described as the germ of the project. Germs are small, but they start big things.

Definitions of germ
  1. noun
    a small apparently simple structure (as a fertilized egg) from which new tissue can develop into a complete organism
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    type of:
    anatomical structure, bodily structure, body structure, complex body part, structure
    a particular complex anatomical part of a living thing
  2. noun
    a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium); the term is not in technical use
    synonyms: bug, microbe
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    type of:
    micro-organism, microorganism
    any organism of microscopic size
  3. noun
    anything that provides inspiration for later work
    synonyms: seed, source
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    something that provides an important central source for growth or development
    the source of an artist's inspiration
    type of:
    arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity
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