Meaning of bacteriophage in English:


Pronunciation /bakˈtɪərɪə(ʊ)feɪdʒ/


  • A virus which parasitizes a bacterium by infecting it and reproducing inside it. Bacteriophages are much used in genetic research.

    ‘Suitable vectors are the DNAs of bacterial viruses or bacteriophages which naturally infect bacteria and replicate within them.’
    • ‘Those viruses, called bacteriophages, specifically infect bacteria, capture some of their genes, and transfer the genes from one microbe to the next.’
    • ‘For a subset of these viruses, including many tailed bacteriophages and the herpes viruses, the concatemers are cut at specific sites to generate unit-length virion chromosomes.’
    • ‘However, another promising approach is to use bacterial viruses knows as bacteriophages to produce vaccines very rapidly and cheaply.’
    • ‘The genome contains four sections inserted by bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria and splice their genes into the bacterial DNA.’


1920s from bacterium + Greek phagein ‘eat’.