Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[fluh-jel-uh m] /fləˈdʒɛl əm/
noun, plural flagella
[fluh-jel-uh] /fləˈdʒɛl ə/ (Show IPA),
Biology. a long, lashlike appendage serving as an organ of locomotion in protozoa, sperm cells, etc.
Botany. a runner.
Also called clavola. Entomology. (in an antenna) the whiplike portion above the basal joints.
a whip or lash.
Origin of flagellum
1800-10; < Latin: whip, lash, diminutive of flagrum a whip, scourge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for flagellum
Historical Examples
  • Tim and his congeries hate the clerics, but they fear the flagellum.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • Post-annellus: in Hymenoptera, the 4th joint of antenna and 2d of flagellum.

  • In Trichoniscus the flagellum may have from seven to four (rarely three) joints.

    The British Woodlice Wilfred Mark Webb
  • It was a curious sensation—that first stroke of the flagellum.

    The Lamp of Fate Margaret Pedler
  • The individuals are very small indeed, and it will take your best objective to show the flagellum.

    Through a Microscope Samuel Wells
  • Its body is covered with minute tubercles and there are only three joints to the flagellum; its movements are by no means rapid.

    The British Woodlice Wilfred Mark Webb
  • It has four joints to the flagellum—Dr. Scharff says three or four—and it moves quickly.

    The British Woodlice Wilfred Mark Webb
  • There are important differences between the two species as regards the number of joints to the flagellum.

    The British Woodlice Wilfred Mark Webb
  • In the former species there are five or more joints to the flagellum and the antenn, though hairy, lack the bristles.

    The British Woodlice Wilfred Mark Webb
  • The genus Ligia agrees with Ligidium alone, in that the flagellum of the larger antenn has more than ten joints.

    The British Woodlice Wilfred Mark Webb
British Dictionary definitions for flagellum


noun (pl) -la (-lə), -lums
(biology) a long whiplike outgrowth from a cell that acts as an organ of locomotion: occurs in some protozoans, gametes, spores, etc
(botany) a long thin supple shoot or runner
(zoology) the terminal whiplike part of an arthropod's appendage, esp of the antenna of many insects
Derived Forms
flagellar, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Latin: a little whip, from flagrum a whip, lash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for flagellum

1852, in reference to microbes, from Latin flagellum "whip, scourge," diminutive of flagrum "whip," from PIE root *bhlag- "to strike."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
flagellum in Medicine

flagellum fla·gel·lum (flə-jěl'əm)
n. pl. fla·gel·la (-jěl'ə)
A threadlike appendage, especially a whiplike extension of certain cells or organisms that functions as an organ of locomotion.

fla·gel'lar (-jěl'ər) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
flagellum in Science
Plural flagella
A slender whiplike part extending from some single-celled organisms, such as the dinoflagellates, that moves rapidly back and forth to impart movement to the organism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for flagellum

Difficulty index for flagellum

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for flagellum

Scrabble Words With Friends