- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for spirillum
The spirillum is a very slender, wavy thread, about 30 to 40 long.
In shape bacteria show three different types; the rod-shaped (bacillus), the spherical (coccus), and the spiral (spirillum).
Vibrio spirillum is excessively minute, colourless, and found in decomposing vegetable mixtures.An Elementary Text-book of the Microscope
John William Griffith
The spirillum of relapsing fever can be identified by the method for the malarial parasite in fresh blood.
Spirillum, spī-ril′um, n. a genus of bacteria with cylindrical spirally twisted cells:—pl.
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
Word Origin and History for spirillum
(plural spirilla), 1875, Modern Latin, diminutive of Latin spira (see spiral (adj.)). So called for their structure.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A member of the genus Spirillum.
- Any of various other spiral-shaped microorganisms.
- 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.
- 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.