Definitions

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

  • n. The doctrine holding that infectious diseases are caused by the activity of microorganisms within the body.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the theory that living organisms can be produced only by the evolution or development of living germs or seeds. See Biogenesis, and Abiogenesis. As applied to the origin of disease, the theory claims that the zymotic diseases are due to the rapid development and multiplication of various bacteria, the germs or spores of which are either contained in the organism itself, or transferred through the air or water. See Fermentation theory.
  • The theory that living organisms can be produced only by the development of living germs. Cf. biogenesis, abiogenesis.
  • The theory which attributes contagious and infectious diseases, suppurative lesions, etc., to the agency of germs, i.e. pathogenic microorganisms. The science of bacteriology was developed after this theory had been established.

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

  • n. (medicine) the theory that all contagious diseases are caused by microorganisms

Etymologies

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Examples

  • Both Claude Bernard and Virchow had expressed their respective ideas before Robert Koch's discovery of the tubercle bacillus in 1882 won the decisive vic - tory for the germ theory of disease.

    HEALTH AND DISEASE

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