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

n a small apparently simple structure (as a fertilized egg) from which new tissue can develop into a complete organism

Type of:
anatomical structure, bodily structure, body structure, complex body part, structure
a particular complex anatomical part of a living thing

n a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium); the term is not in technical use

bug, microbe
Type of:
micro-organism, microorganism
any organism of microscopic size

n anything that provides inspiration for later work

seed, source
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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