Definition of penicillium in English:



  • A blue mould that is common on food, being added to some cheeses and used sometimes to produce penicillin.

    • ‘Identifying penicillia is relatively easy for a trained microbiologist; certifying that the substance ‘dissolving’ bacteria on petri dishes is true penicillin is quite a different matter.’
    • ‘This is because the cheese maker has to let the air inside the cheese for the penicillium (the blue cheese mold) to develop.’
    • ‘Since 1941, when the first bacterial infection was cured with a concoction derived from the fungus penicillium, we've depended on antibiotics to be there when we're sick.’
    • ‘The mould turned out to be a variety called penicillium, and the discovery led to the first antibiotics.’
    • ‘It's been more than 70 years since Alexander Fleming discovered that the mold fungus penicillium was effective against bacteria.’


Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Latin penicillus paintbrush (because of the brush-like fruiting bodies).