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For the genus of scale insects, see Coccus (insect).
"Cocci" redirects here. For the fungal disease, see Coccidioidomycosis.
Arrangement of cocci bacteria en.svg
Staphylococcus bacteria

Coccus (plural cocci) is a term used to describe any bacterium that has a spherical, ovoid, or generally round shape.[1] It is one of the three distinct bacterial shapes, the other two being bacillus (rod-shaped) and spiral-shaped cells.

Coccus is an English loanword of a Neolatin noun, which in turn stems from the Greek masculine noun kokkos (κόκκος) meaning "berry".[2]


Cocci may occur as single cells or remain attached following cell division. Those that remain attached can be classified based on cellular arrangement:[1]


  1. ^ a b Pommerville, J.C. (2013). Fundamentals of Microbiology (10th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. p. 106. ISBN 9781449647964. 
  2. ^ κόκκος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project