cilia

[sil-ee-uh]
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plural noun, singular cil·i·um [sil-ee-uh m] /ˈsɪl i əm/.
  1. Biology. minute hairlike organelles, identical in structure to flagella, that line the surfaces of certain cells and beat in rhythmic waves, providing locomotion to ciliate protozoans and moving liquids along internal epithelial tissue in animals.
  2. Anatomy. the eyelashes.

Origin of cilia

1705–15; New Latin, plural of cilium eyelash, Latin: upper eyelid, perhaps a back formation from supercilium eyebrow; see supercilium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for cilia

cilia

noun
  1. the plural of cilium
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 cilia
n.

1715, from Latin cilia, plural of cilium "eyelid, eyelash," perhaps related to celare "to cover, hide," from PIE root *kel- "to conceal" (see cell), but words for this part of the face can be tricky (see brow). It sometimes is pluralized in English, which is an error. Related: Ciliated; ciliary; ciliate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cilia in Science

cilium

[sĭlē-əm]
Plural cilia
  1. A tiny hairlike projection on the surface of some cells and microscopic organisms, especially protozoans. Cilia are capable of whipping motions and are used by some microorganisms, such as paramecia, for movement. Cilia lining the human respiratory tract act to remove foreign matter from air before it reaches the lungs.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.