- Biology. moving or capable of moving spontaneously: motile cells; motile spores.
Origin of motile
1860–65; < Latin mōt(us) (past participle of movēre to move, set in motion) + -ile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for motile
The spirochetes are motile but flagella have not been shown to be present.
These petioles are provided with a series of motile leaflets.Life Movements in Plants
Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose
The motile organs are cirri and cilia, all inserted in the constriction.Marine Protozoa from Woods Hole
Gary N. Calkins
Bacteria which are thus capable of independent movement are spoken of as motile bacteria.
By studying living bacteria with this device it can be determined whether they are motile or not.
- capable of moving spontaneously and independently
- psychol a person whose mental imagery strongly reflects movement, esp his own
C19: from Latin mōtus moved, from movēre to move
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
Word Origin and History for motile
"capable of movement," 1831, back-formation from motility.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Moving or having the power to move spontaneously.
- Of or relating to mental imagery that arises primarily from sensations of bodily movement and position rather than from visual or auditory sensations.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Moving or able to move by itself. Sperm and certain spores are motile.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.