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[an-uh-roh-bik, an-ai-] /ˌæn əˈroʊ bɪk, ˌæn ɛə-/
(of an organism or tissue) living in the absence of air or free oxygen.
pertaining to or caused by the absence of oxygen.
Origin of anaerobic
1880-85; anaerobe + -ic
Related forms
anaerobically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for anaerobic
  • In periodontal disease, the bacterial balance shifts over to gram negative anaerobic bacteria.
  • Because this is where anaerobic bacteria, which produce sulfur, in the course of their processing get involved.
  • It is only when the piles become starved of oxygen that noxious anaerobic activity begins.
  • The real answer may be to put in microbes that are only anaerobic.
  • It was the byproduct of anaerobic bacterial respiration.
  • The first lagoon is bubbly and dark, with anaerobic bacteria digesting the organic matter to reduce odor.
  • anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis both produce renewable energy while destroying infectious agents in manure.
  • Manures should go into anaerobic digesters to make clean biofuel.
  • Many dairies currently use anaerobic digestors to capture the methane from manure.
  • Conduct research on cellular respiration and anaerobic respiration in muscles.
British Dictionary definitions for anaerobic


(of an organism or process) requiring the absence of or not dependent on the presence of oxygen
of or relating to anaerobes
Compare aerobic
Derived Forms
anaerobically, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for anaerobic

"capable of living without oxygen," 1879 (as anaerobian; modern form first attested 1884), from French anaérobie, coined 1863 by French bacteriologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), from Greek an- "without" (see an- (1)) + aer "air" (see air (n.1)) + bios "life" (see bio-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anaerobic in Medicine

anaerobic an·aer·o·bic (ān'ə-rō'bĭk, -â-rō'bĭk)

  1. Relating to or being an anaerobe.

  2. Living without oxygen.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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anaerobic in Science
Occurring in the absence of oxygen or not requiring oxygen to live. Anaerobic bacteria produce energy from food molecules without the presence of oxygen. Compare aerobic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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anaerobic in Culture
anaerobic [(an-uh-roh-bik, an-air-oh-bik)]

A descriptive term for a process, such as fermentation, that can proceed only in the absence of oxygen, or a living thing that can survive only in the absence of oxygen. (Compare aerobic.)

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