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[mahy-krohb] /ˈmaɪ kroʊb/
a microorganism, especially a pathogenic bacterium.
1880-85; < French < Greek mīkro- micro- + bíos life
Related forms
microbeless, adjective
microbial, microbic, microbian, adjective
nonmicrobic, adjective
unmicrobial, adjective
unmicrobic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for microbial
  • No aspect of biomedical research seems more urgent today than the study of microbial diseases.
  • Give it a daily spin to keep the microbial party going.
  • Cheese is an everyday artifact of microbial artistry.
  • And by reducing the microbial community, you also run the risk of reducing protection against the pathogens.
  • Scientists believe the lake could be home to cold-loving microbial life adapted to living in total darkness.
  • Our scent is really the outcome of microbial processing of our sweat.
  • Identifying plant microbes is not easy, because microbial cells are embedded in plant tissue.
  • Finally, iodine is added for microbial control, much the way municipal water authorities add chlorine to city drinking water.
  • The challenge for those who wish to ward off microbial bad guys is to identify that weak spot.
  • And the microbial content of forest floors ensure that debris is rapidly metabolized.
British Dictionary definitions for microbial


any microscopic organism, esp a disease-causing bacterium
Derived Forms
microbial, microbic, (rare) microbian, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from French, from micro- + Greek bios life
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 microbial

1879, from Modern Latin microbion (see microbe) + -al (1).



popular name for a bacterium, 1878, from French microbe, "badly coined ... by Sédillot" [Weekley] in 1878 from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + bios "life" (see bio-). It is an incorrect use of bios; in Greek the word would mean literally "short-lived."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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microbial in Medicine

microbe mi·crobe (mī'krōb')
A microorganism, especially a bacterium that causes disease; a minute life form. No longer in technical use.

mi·cro'bi·al (mī-krō'bē-əl) 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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microbial in Science
A microorganism, especially a bacterium that causes disease. See Note at germ.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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