"capable of living without oxygen," 1879 (as anaerobian, modern form first attested 1884), from Fr. anaérobie, coined 1863 by Louis Pasteur, from Gk. an- "without" + aer "air" + bios "life" (see bio-).
anaerobic (ān'ə-rō'bĭk) Pronunciation Key
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.