Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various rod-shaped, spore-forming, aerobic bacteria of the genus Bacillus that often occur in chains and include B. anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax.
  • n. Any of various bacteria, especially a rod-shaped bacterium.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various rod-shaped, spore-forming aerobic bacteria in the genus Bacillus, some of which cause disease.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A variety of bacterium; a microscopic, rod-shaped vegetable organism.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anatomy, a little rod or rod-like body, as one of the rods of the retina.
  • n. An individual of the genus Bacillus.
  • n. [capitalized] A so-called genus of the microscopical vegetable organisms known as bacteria, having the form of very slender straight filaments, short or of moderate length, and consisting of one or more elongated cylindrical joints.
  • n. [capitalized] In entomology, a genus of orthopterous gressorial insects, of the family Phasmidæ, the walking-sticks.
  • n. Medicine made up into a long round figure like a stick.
  • n. In sponges, a microstrongyle; a form of spicule.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. aerobic rod-shaped spore-producing bacterium; often occurring in chainlike formations; found primarily in soil

Etymologies

Late Latin, diminutive of Latin baculum, rod; see bak- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin bacillus ("little staff, wand"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For instance, the germ that causes typhoid fever is called the _bacillus typhosus_; that which causes tuberculosis is called the bacillus tuberculosis; while the germ of diphtheria known as the _Klebs-Loeffler bacillus_, after the two men who discovered it.

    A Handbook of Health

  • Which disease caused by a bacillus is abbreviated as "TB"?

    August 2007

  • He finally concluded that the only remaining competitor for the distinction of causing the pestilence was a germ which he called bacillus x.

    Manuscript Draft: Walter Reed: Doctor in Uniform, by Laura Wood, [19 -- ]

  • There still may be much about Cameron's Tory party that is deeply difficult to stomach, but ejecting a government that is corrupting the very well of democracy seems a perfectly good reason to put those reservations to one side and to remove this bacillus from the body politic.

    Archive 2007-10-21

  • It was emphasized there, in addition, that the bacillus is dependent on the living organism for its development and multiplication, and that hence tuberculous infection is derived primarily from the expectorations of consumptives, and that it can probably also be caused by cattle suffering from «pearl disease».

    Physiology or Medicine 1905 - Presentation Speech

  • When the anthrax bacillus is injected under the skin of sensitive animals, such as the rabbit or the guinea-pig, the microbe is found free in abundant fluid from which the white corpuscles are almost wholly absent.

    Ilya Mechnikov - Nobel Lecture

  • It has been known for a long time that the tubercle bacillus is rapidly destroyed in the soil.

    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1952 - Presentation Speech

  • They did a quality check in the Slim-Fast factory and they found that they might have the presence of a bacteria called bacillus cereus.

    CNN Transcript Dec 4, 2009

  • If the anthrax bacteria, known as bacillus anthraxious (ph), actually gets into the lungs, an inhaled anthrax infection might occur.

    CNN Transcript Oct 26, 2001

  • Because of the resemblance of these latter to a walking stick they have been termed bacillus (plural, bacilli).

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 810, July 11, 1891

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