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[moht-l, moh-til]
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  1. 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 formsmo·til·i·ty [moh-til-i-tee] /moʊˈtɪl ɪ ti/, nounnon·mo·tile, adjectivenon·mo·til·i·ty, nounsu·per·mo·til·i·ty, nounun·mo·tile, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for non-motile

Historical Examples

  • All strains are non-motile, non-sporogenous, and non-capsule-forming.

    The Bacillus of Long Life

    Loudon Douglas

  • 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

  • It is true that some of the intestinal organisms are motile, but most of the bacteria which are pathogenic are non-motile.

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology

    Charles Bradfield Morrey

  • Cocci exhibit this movement, but with the exception of the Micrococcus agilis, the cocci are non-motile.

  • The latter ultimately divides in the apex of the pollen-tube into two non-motile generative cells.

British Dictionary definitions for non-motile


  1. capable of moving spontaneously and independently
  1. psychol a person whose mental imagery strongly reflects movement, esp his own
Derived Formsmotility (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

Word Origin and History for non-motile



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

non-motile in Medicine


(mōtl, mōtīl′)
  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.
Related formsmo•tili•ty (mō-tĭlĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

non-motile in Science


[mōtl, mōtīl′]
  1. Moving or able to move by itself. Sperm and certain spores are motile.
Related formsmotility noun (mō-tĭlĭ-tē)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.