"able to live or living only in the presence of oxygen, requiring or using free oxygen from the air," 1875, after French aérobie (n.), coined 1863 by Louis Pasteur in reference to certain bacteria; from Greek aero- "air" (see aero-) + bios "life," from PIE root *gwei- "to live." Aerobian and aerobious also were used in English. Hence aerobe "type of micro-organism which lives on oxygen from the air." Meaning "pertaining to aerobics is from 1968.
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