Definition of fungus in English:



  • 1Any of a group of unicellular, multicellular, or syncytial spore-producing organisms feeding on organic matter, including moulds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools.

    ‘truffles are fungi but not mushrooms’
    [mass noun] ‘fallen logs were overgrown with bright fungus’
    [as modifier] ‘fungus infections like athlete's foot’
    • ‘It may be less well known that ethylene is also produced naturally by bacteria and fungi.’
    • ‘In season, a wider variety of fungi, including chanterelles, is perfect.’
    • ‘One side was fence, the other a swamp, a mire skewered by rotting birch trunks bracketed by hard tinder fungi.’
    • ‘Endophytic bacteria and fungi act both as growth promoters and as biocontrol agents.’
    • ‘As mycorrhizal fungi can extend for some distance out from the plant root, this region can be significant.’
    • ‘The ring is caused by one of several fungi that grow on organic matter in the soil.’
    • ‘Carotenoid pigments are synthesized by all higher plants, algae, and some bacteria and fungi.’
    • ‘There's a variety of mushrooms and other fungi about too, for the budding amateur mycologist.’
    • ‘Data about antioxidative systems in mycorrhizal fungi in pure culture and in symbiosis are scarce.’
    • ‘The funguses in which penicillin was discovered use it to kill bacteria which might compete with them for food.’
    • ‘Bacteria and fungi are largely responsible for the breakdown of organic matter on Earth.’
    • ‘Filamentous ascomycete fungi have nearly twice as many genes and are much more typical higher fungi than yeasts.’
    • ‘Bacteria, fungi and plants synthesize pantothenate, but animals obtain it from their diet.’
    • ‘Active sodium export is a well-investigated phenomenon in bacteria, fungi and animals.’
    • ‘Sulphate assimilation is present in plants, algae, fungi, and many autotrophic prokaryotes.’
    • ‘Now I've got to tell you I'm no expert in mushrooms toadstools and fungi in general.’
    • ‘The combination of air and wet silage and heat make an ideal environment for yeasts and fungi to multiply.’
    • ‘The best thing to do with old cherry trunks is to let them lie in the woods, rotting down to feed fungi and invertebrates.’
    • ‘Jasmonic acid is likely to occur ubiquitously in the plant kingdom, and it has also been found in some fungi.’
    • ‘So-called sour rot is due to a mix of fungi, yeasts, acetic acid bacteria, and fruit fly larvae.’
    mushroom, toadstool
    mould, mildew, rust, fungal disease, rot, decay
    mycelium, saprophyte
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[mass noun]Fungal infection (especially on fish)
      ‘farmed fish often get fungus’
      • ‘A dye called Malachite green, used to treat fungus on fish, is carcinogenic.’
      • ‘Tea tree is useful on a wide range of infections from colds and flu to thrush and chicken pox due to its ability to tackle bacteria, fungus, viruses and parasites whilst increasing the body's natural immunity.’
      • ‘Most healthy people who are infected with this fungus never have any symptoms, because their bodies fight off the disease.’
      • ‘He suspects the gastric breeding frog was probably the victim of a naturally occurring fungus that attacks the skin of the species.’
      • ‘It can be caused by a bacteria, fungus, or parasite.’
      • ‘Artificial nails present a situation that is ideal for infection by fungus and bacteria, especially when they are left on too long.’
      • ‘Many of them were caused by fungus and parasites in the water.’
      • ‘He concludes with the ‘bad news’ of how the natural world is slowly being done in by the equally zealous American fungus of resource development.’
      • ‘One of the greatest challenges for hatchery managers is to control the spread of fungus on fish held in captivity, particularly during autumn.’
      • ‘If you see white crusty stuff, your child may have athlete's foot - a highly contagious fungus that she probably picked up in the shower from another family member.’
      • ‘Infection by this fungus is commonly reported from Thailand where it is the third commonest AIDS defining opportunistic infection.’
      • ‘Moisture condensation can cause fungus and mold infection.’
      • ‘The symptoms and appearances of a fungal skin infection depend on the type of fungus causing it and the part of the body affected.’
      • ‘The Black Sigatoka fungus, while only recently reported in Florida, has been affecting crops in the developing world for years.’
      • ‘An infection of nail fungus occurs when fungi infect one or more of your nails.’
      • ‘The spores of this fungus infect fresh wounds and cuts in the autumn and winter months and for this reason, plums are best pruned in late spring or early summer.’
      • ‘The Scottish Executive outlawed malachite green, widely used by fish farmers to treat fungus in salmon, on June 11.’
      • ‘Bight, fungus, bacterial infection - the vulnerable tomatoes were threatened at every sprout.’
      • ‘A few years back my nurse practitioner confirmed that one of my toenails was infected with fungus.’
      • ‘I'm no oil painting, and its hardly wise to make things worse, so I'll just count a couple of months in 1997 as the one time I sported facial fungus.’
      • ‘I have fungus on my toenails, and I don't want anyone to see my feet.’
      • ‘Sometimes the doctor may want to examine the hair root to look for fungus or see what is the predominant type of hair falling - whether it is anagen hair or telogen hair.’
    2. 1.2[in singular]Used to describe something that has appeared or grown rapidly and is considered unpleasant or unattractive.
      ‘there was a fungus of outbuildings behind the house’
      • ‘And divorce lawyers are the fungus that grows beneath that scum.’
      • ‘Religious zealotry is a fungus growing out of the decay of high secular ideals.’
      • ‘There are at least six billion reasons to dislike the soul-draining fungus that is that famous singer, but we don't have all day, so I'm going to give you five.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, perhaps from Greek spongos (see sponge).