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[moht-l, moh-til] /ˈmoʊt l, ˈmoʊ tɪl/
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
Related forms
[moh-til-i-tee] /moʊˈtɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
nonmotile, adjective
nonmotility, noun
supermotility, noun
unmotile, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for motile
Historical Examples
  • The asexual spores, which are not motile, are formed in some of the surface cells of the thallus.

    The Sea Shore William S. Furneaux
  • The spirochetes are motile but flagella have not been shown to be present.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology Charles Bradfield Morrey
  • Many forms are motile—some in virtue of fine thread-like flagella, and others through contractility of the protoplasm.

    Manual of Surgery Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • These petioles are provided with a series of motile leaflets.

    Life Movements in Plants Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose
  • In a motile tissue contraction of a cell causes a physical deformation and stimulation of the neighbouring cell.

    Life Movements in Plants Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose
  • Bacteria which are thus capable of independent movement are spoken of as motile bacteria.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology Charles Bradfield Morrey
  • The motile organs are cirri and cilia, all inserted in the constriction.

  • By studying living bacteria with this device it can be determined whether they are motile or not.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology Charles Bradfield Morrey
  • This nonmotile stage is infective whereas the motile embryonic stage is not.

  • Non-motile facultative anarobes usually cloud the broth also, but settle out more rapidly than the motile ones.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology Charles Bradfield Morrey
British Dictionary definitions for motile


capable of moving spontaneously and independently
(psychol) a person whose mental imagery strongly reflects movement, esp his own
Derived Forms
motility (məʊˈtɪlɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for motile

"capable of movement," 1831, back-formation from motility.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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motile in Medicine

motile mo·tile (mōt'l, mō'tīl')

  1. Moving or having the power to move spontaneously.

  2. Of or relating to mental imagery that arises primarily from sensations of bodily movement and position rather than from visual or auditory sensations.

mo·til'i·ty (mō-tĭl'ĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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motile in Science
  (mōt'l, mō'tīl')   
Moving or able to move by itself. Sperm and certain spores are motile.

motility noun (mō-tĭl'ĭ-tē)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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