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PIE root

From Middle French germe, from Latin germen ‎(bud, seed, embryo).



germ ‎(plural germs)

  1. (biology) The small mass of cells from which a new organism develops; a seed, bud or spore.
  2. A pathogenic microorganism.
  3. The origin of an idea or project.
    the germ of civil liberty
  4. The embryo of a seed, especially of a seed used as a cereal or grain. See Wikipedia article on cereal germ.

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germ ‎(third-person singular simple present germs, present participle germing, simple past and past participle germed)

  1. To germinate.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      O for a withering curse to blast the germing of their wicked machinations.
    • Thomas Hardy
      Thus tempted, the lust to avenge me / Germed inly and grew.
  2. (slang) To grow, as if parasitic.
    • "I’m addicted, want to germ inside your love" - Just Can't Get Enough by the Black Eyed Peas

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Proto-Indo-European *gʷʰer-. Cognate with English warm.


germ (comparative germtir, superlative germtirîn)

  1. warm

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