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

  • n. A bacillus (Escherichia coli) normally found in the human gastrointestinal tract and existing as numerous strains, some of which are responsible for diarrheal diseases. Other strains have been used experimentally in molecular biology.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Escherichia coli, a group of gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia, that reside in the intestinal tracts of humans and many animals. Many strains of these bacteria are harmful and can cause food poisoning (urinary infections and enteritis).
  • n. Entamoeba coli, a species of non-pathogenic amoeba, Entamoeba, that resides in the gastrointestinal tract of some animals, including humans.


New Latin E(scherichia) colī, species name : after Theodor Escherich (1857-1911), German physician + Latin colī, genitive of colon, colon; see colon2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Abbreviation of Escherichia ("genus of bacteria") + Latin coli, genitive of colum ("colon") (Wiktionary)
Abbreviation of Entamoeba ("genus of types of ameobas") + Latin coli, genitive of colum ("colon") (Wiktionary)


  • Updated If you see the name E. coli in a news story today, it's likely to be in the context of a foodborne illness outbreak. News

  • **VOA earlier referred to E. coli as a virus, we regret the error.

    Germany Reports More Deaths in E. Coli Outbreak

  • But that reaction pales in comparison to what's happening in Europe, where consumers are coping first-hand with the sudden outbreak of a highly toxic strain of a known bacteria, Escherichia coli , more commonly known as E. coli.

    E. coli and the Fear Factor

  • In some editions Saturday, a World News article about an outbreak in Europe incorrectly called E. coli a virus in one reference.

    Corrections & Amplifications

  • When they examined some of the samples, they found Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, on half of them.

    Carts one of dirtiest places in grocery store, study says

  • The particular bacteria causing this recent nasty outbreak is a strain called E. coli O157:H7.

    Corn-eating-cow crap chuckin’ up your insides blues | The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

  • The researchers took a closer look at the samples from 36 carts and discovered Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, on 50 percent of them - along with a host of other types of bacteria. Top headlines

  • The new rule means that six lesser-known forms of E. coli will be treated the same as their much more famous cousin, a strain of the bacteria called E. coli O157:H7, which has caused thousands of illnesses and prompted the recall of millions of pounds of ground beef and other products.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The new rule, which officials said would be announced on Tuesday, means that six relatively rare forms of E. coli will be treated the same as their notorious and more common cousin, a strain called E. coli O157:H7.

    NYT > Home Page

  • In the present instance, Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Church have been working not with a mammoth but with the standard laboratory bacterium known as E. coli.

    NYT > Home Page


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