Definition of fungus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfʌŋɡəs/

noun (plural fungi /ˈfʌŋɡʌɪ/ /ˈfʌnd(ʒ)ʌɪ/ or funguses)

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
More example sentences
  • Now I've got to tell you I'm no expert in mushrooms toadstools and fungi in general.
  • As mycorrhizal fungi can extend for some distance out from the plant root, this region can be significant.
  • Data about antioxidative systems in mycorrhizal fungi in pure culture and in symbiosis are scarce.
mushroom, toadstool;
mould, mildew, rust, fungal disease, rot, decay
technical mycelium, saprophyte
1.1 [mass noun] Fungal infection (especially on fish): farmed fish often get fungus
More example sentences
  • One of the greatest challenges for hatchery managers is to control the spread of fungus on fish held in captivity, particularly during autumn.
  • The Scottish Executive outlawed malachite green, widely used by fish farmers to treat fungus in salmon, on June 11.
  • A dye called Malachite green, used to treat fungus on fish, is carcinogenic.
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
More example sentences
  • 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.

Fungi lack chlorophyll and are therefore incapable of photosynthesis. Many play an ecologically vital role in breaking down dead organic matter, some are an important source of antibiotics or are used in fermentation, and others cause disease. The familiar mushrooms and toadstools are merely the fruiting bodies of organisms that exist mainly as a thread-like mycelium in the soil. Some fungi form associations with other plants, growing with algae to form lichens, or in the roots of higher plants to form mycorrhizas. Fungi are now often classified as a separate kingdom distinct from the green plants.


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

  • This is the use of a Latin word in English; it is perhaps from Greek spongos. The word has sometimes been used to mean ‘a beard’ since the early 20th century which is probably a shortening of the term face fungus.

Words that rhyme with fungus

fungous, humongous

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fun¦gus

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