bacteria

[bak-teer-ee-uh]
plural noun, singular bacterium [bak-teer-ee-uhm] .
ubiquitous one-celled organisms, spherical, spiral, or rod-shaped and appearing singly or in chains, comprising the Schizomycota, a phylum of the kingdom Monera (in some classification systems the plant class Schizomycetes), various species of which are involved in fermentation, putrefaction, infectious diseases, or nitrogen fixation.

Origin:
1905–10; < Neo-Latin < Greek baktḗria, plural of baktḗrion; see bacterium

bacterial, adjective
bacterially, adverb
nonbacterial, adjective
nonbacterially, adverb
unbacterial, adjective
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World English Dictionary
bacteria (bækˈtɪərɪə)
 
pl n , sing -rium
See also prokaryote a very large group of microorganisms comprising one of the three domains of living organisms. They are prokaryotic, unicellular, and either free-living in soil or water or parasites of plants or animals
 
[C19: plural of New Latin bacterium, from Greek baktērion, literally: a little stick, from baktron rod, staff]
 
bac'terial
 
adj
 
bac'terially
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

bacteria
1847, from Mod.L. pl. of bacterium, from Gk. bakterion "small staff," dim. of baktron "stick, rod," from PIE *bak- "staff used for support." So called because the first ones observed were rod-shaped. Introduced as a scientific word 1838 by Ger. naturalist Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg (1795-1876). Related:
Bacterial (1871).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

bacteria bac·te·ri·a (bāk-tǐr'ē-ə)
n.
Plural of bacterium.


bac·te'ri·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
bacteria   (bāk-tîr'ē-ə)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural of bacterium.
bacterium  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (bāk-tîr'ē-əm)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural bacteria
Any of a large group of one-celled organisms that lack a cell nucleus, reproduce by fission or by forming spores, and in some cases cause disease. They are the most abundant lifeforms on Earth, and are found in all living things and in all of the Earth's environments. Bacteria usually live off other organisms. Bacteria make up most of the kingdom of prokaryotes (Monera or Prokaryota), with one group (the archaea or archaebacteria) often classified as a separate kingdom. See also archaeon, prokaryote.

bacterial adjective
Our Living Language  : It is important to remember that bacteria is the plural of bacterium, and that saying a bacteria is incorrect. It is correct to say The soil sample contains millions of bacteria, and Tetanus is caused by a bacterium.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

bacteria definition


sing. bacterium

Microorganisms made up of a single cell that has no distinct nucleus. Bacteria reproduce by fission or by forming spores.

Note: Some bacteria are beneficial to humans (for example, those that live in the stomach and aid digestion), and some are harmful (for example, those that cause disease).
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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Example sentences
Through chemical signaling, tiny bacterial cells can band together and perform
  the work of giants.
Tiny bits of food get caught up in that calcified bacterial sludge, where they
  can remain for millennia without disintegrating.
They suffer from malnutrition and various viral and bacterial diseases.
Bacterial canker and brown rot of stone fruit are serious diseases.
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