noun, plural staphylococci [staf-uh-luh-kok-sahy] . Bacteriology.
any of several spherical bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus, occurring in pairs, tetrads, and irregular clusters, certain species of which, as S. aureus, can be pathogenic for humans.

1885–90; < Neo-Latin; see staphylo-, coccus

staphylococcal [staf-uh-luh-kok-uhl] , staphylococcic [staf-uh-luh-kok-sik] , adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
staphylococcus (ˌstæfɪləʊˈkɒkəs)
n , pl -cocci
Often shortened to: staph any spherical Gram-positive bacterium of the genus Staphylococcus, typically occurring in clusters and including many pathogenic species, causing boils, infection in wounds, and septicaemia: family Micrococcaceae
[C19: from staphylo- (in the sense: like a bunch of grapes) + coccus so called because of their shape]

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Word Origin & History

1887, Mod.L., the genus name, coined (on model of streptococcus) in 1882 by Scottish surgeon and bacteriologist Alexander Ogston (1844-1929), from Gk. staphyle "bunch of grapes" (see staff) + Mod.L. coccus "spherical bacterium," from Gk.
kokkos "berry, grain." So called because the bacteria usually bunch together in irregular masses. Colloquial short form staph is attested from 1933.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

staphylococcus staph·y·lo·coc·cus (stāf'ə-lō-kŏk'əs)
n. pl. staph·y·lo·coc·ci (-kŏk'sī, -kŏk'ī)
A spherical gram-positive parasitic bacterium of the genus Staphylococcus, usually occurring in clusters and causing boils, septicemia, and other infections.

staph'y·lo·coc'cal (-kŏk'əl) or staph'y·lo·coc·'cic (-kŏk'sĭk, -kŏk'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
staphylococcus   (stāf'ə-lō-kŏk'əs)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural staphylococci (stāf'ə-lō-kŏk'sī, -kŏk'ī)
Any of various bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus that are gram-positive cocci and are normally found on the skin and mucous membranes of warm-blooded animals. Pathogenic strains such as S. aureus commonly cause infections of the skin, bones, lungs and other organs. Some staphylococcal disease, such as food poisoning, is caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria.
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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
staphylococcus [(staf-uh-loh-kok-uhs)]

A category of bacteria that can cause boils, blood poisoning, and other serious infections.

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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