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[spahy-ril-uh m] /spaɪˈrɪl əm/
noun, plural spirilla
[spahy-ril-uh] /spaɪˈrɪl ə/ (Show IPA).
any of several spirally twisted, aerobic bacteria of the genus Spirillum, certain species of which are pathogenic for humans.
any of various similar microorganisms.
Origin of spirillum
1870-75; < New Latin, equivalent to Latin spīr(a) (see spire2) + -illum diminutive suffix
Related forms
spirillar, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for spirilla


noun (pl) -la (-lə)
any bacterium having a curved or spirally twisted rodlike body Compare coccus (sense 1), bacillus (sense 1)
any bacterium of the genus Spirillum, such as S. minus, which causes ratbite fever
Derived Forms
spirillar, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, literally: a little coil, from spīra a coil
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 spirilla



(plural spirilla), 1875, Modern Latin, diminutive of Latin spira (see spiral (adj.)). So called for their structure.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spirilla in Medicine

spirillum spi·ril·lum (spī-rĭl'əm)
n. pl. spi·ril·la (-rĭl'ə)

  1. A member of the genus Spirillum.

  2. Any of various other spiral-shaped microorganisms.

Spirillum n.
A genus of large, aerobic, gram-negative bacteria having an elongated spiral form and a tuft of flagella.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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spirilla in Science
Plural spirilla
Any of various bacteria that are shaped like a spiral, such as the spirochete Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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