- 1[countable, usually plural] a very small living thing that can cause infection and disease Disinfectant kills germs. Dirty hands can be a breeding ground for germs.
- 2[singular] germ of something an early stage of the development of something Here was the germ of a brilliant idea. The germ of the town was a single house near the river.
- 3 [countable] (biology) the part of a plant or an animal that can develop into a new one see also wheat germ