Germ, n. (Biol.) The germ
cells, collectively, as distinguished from the somatic cells,
or soma. Germ is often used in place of germinal
to form phrases; as, germ area, germ disc, germ
membrane, germ nucleus, germ sac, etc.
Germ (?), v. i. To
germinate. [R.] J. Morley.
Germ (?), n. [F. germe, fr. L.
germen, germinis, sprout, but, germ. Cf.
Germen, Germane.] 1. (Biol.)
That which is to develop a new individual; as, the germ
of a fetus, of a plant or flower, and the like; the earliest form
under which an organism appears.
In the entire process in which a new being originates
. . . two distinct classes of action participate; namely, the act of
generation by which the germ is produced; and the act of
development, by which that germ is evolved into the complete
2. That from which anything springs; origin;
first principle; as, the germ of civil liberty.
Disease germ (Biol.), a name applied
to certain tiny bacterial organisms or their spores, such as
Anthrax bacillus and the Micrococcus of fowl cholera,
which have been demonstrated to be the cause of certain diseases. See
Germ theory (below). -- Germ cell
(Biol.), the germ, egg, spore, or cell from which the
plant or animal arises. At one time a part of the body of the parent,
it finally becomes detached,and by a process of multiplication and
growth gives rise to a mass of cells, which ultimately form a new
individual like the parent. See Ovum. -- Germ
gland. (Anat.) See Gonad. --
Germ stock (Zoöl.), a special
process on which buds are developed in certain animals. See
Doliolum. -- Germ theory
(Biol.), 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