Definition of actinomycete in English:



  • A bacterium of an order of typically non-motile filamentous forms. They include streptomycetes, and were formerly regarded as fungi.

    • ‘Many drugs, including the antibiotic streptomycin, are derived from soil microbes called actinomycetes.’
    • ‘Many antibiotics come from bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi.’
    • ‘Actinomycosis is a chronic infection caused by various bacteria called actinomycetes.’
    • ‘Farmer's lung disease is a hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by the inhalation of thermophilic actinomycetes that grow in moldy hay or straw.’
    • ‘In the composting process, the tissues of carcasses are broken down aerobically by bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, and protozoa to produce water vapor, carbon dioxide, heat, and a stabilized organic residue.’


1920s (originally only in the plural): modern Latin, from Greek aktis, aktin- ray + mukētes, plural of mukēs fungus.