fungus
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GC: n

S: UCMP – http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fungi/fungi.html (last access: 18 June 2015); CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/ (last access: 18 June 2015).

N: 1. 1520s, “a mushroom,” from Latin fungus “a mushroom, fungus;” used in English at first as a learned alternative to mushroom (funge was used in this sense late 14c.). The Latin word is believed to be cognate with (or derived from) Greek sphongos, the Attic form of spongos “sponge” (see sponge (n.)). “Probably a loanword from a non-IE language, borrowed independently into Greek, Latin and Armenian in a form *sphong- ….” .
2. Fungus, plural fungi, any of about 99,000 known species of organisms of the kingdom Fungi, which includes the yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews, molds, and mushrooms. There are also many funguslike organisms, including slime molds and oomycetes (water molds), that do not belong to kingdom Fungi but are often called fungi. Many of these funguslike organisms are included in the kingdom Chromista. Fungi are among the most widely distributed organisms on Earth and are of great environmental and medical importance. Many fungi are free-living in soil or water; others form parasitic or symbiotic relationships with plants or animals.

S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fungus (last access: 18 June 2015). 2. EncBrit – http://global.britannica.com/science/fungus (last access: 18 June 2015).

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CR: antifungal, bacterium, biodegradation, fungicide, microorganism, mycosis, parasite, pathogen, pathogenic, penicillin, virus, zygomycosis.