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germ (n.)

mid-15c., "bud, sprout;" 1640s, "rudiment of a new organism in an existing one," from Middle French germe "germ (of egg); bud, seed, fruit; offering," from Latin germen (genitive germinis) "spring, offshoot; sprout, bud," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.

The older sense is preserved in wheat germ and germ of an idea; sense of "seed of a disease" first recorded 1796 in English; that of "harmful micro-organism" dates from 1871. Germ warfare is recorded from 1919.

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Definitions of germ from WordNet

germ (n.)
anything that provides inspiration for later work;
Synonyms: source / seed
germ (n.)
a small apparently simple structure (as a fertilized egg) from which new tissue can develop into a complete organism;
germ (n.)
a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium); the term is not in technical use;
Synonyms: microbe / bug
From wordnet.princeton.edu