microbe (n.)

popular name for a bacterium or other extremely small living being, 1878, from French microbe, "badly coined ... by Sédillot" [Weekley] in 1878 from Latinized form of Greek mikros "small" (see micro-) + bios "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live"). Intended to mean literally "a small living being," the use of bios is incorrect, as in modern science generally (see bio-); in Greek the compound would mean "short-lived."

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