- a plural of flagellum.
- Biology. a long, lashlike appendage serving as an organ of locomotion in protozoa, sperm cells, etc.
- Botany. a runner.
- Also called clavola. Entomology. (in an antenna) the whiplike portion above the basal joints.
- a whip or lash.
Origin of flagellum
1800–10; < Latin: whip, lash, diminutive of flagrum a whip, scourge
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for flagella
The spirochetes are motile but flagella have not been shown to be present.The Fundamentals of Bacteriology
Charles Bradfield Morrey
In the former case they are termed “flagella,” in the latter “cilia.”
Fore-end of the body with two or four (seldom five) flagella.
Both the blastosphere and gastrula often swim freely by flagella.The Whence and the Whither of Man
John Mason Tyler
The contractile vacuole is close to the base of the flagella.Marine Protozoa from Woods Hole
Gary N. Calkins
- biology a long whiplike outgrowth from a cell that acts as an organ of locomotion: occurs in some protozoans, gametes, spores, etc
- botany a long thin supple shoot or runner
- zoology the terminal whiplike part of an arthropod's appendage, esp of the antenna of many insects
C19: from Latin: a little whip, from flagrum a whip, lash
Word Origin and History for flagella
1852, in reference to microbes, from Latin flagellum "whip, scourge," diminutive of flagrum "whip," from PIE root *bhlag- "to strike."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A threadlike appendage, especially a whiplike extension of certain cells or organisms that functions as an organ of locomotion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- A slender whiplike part extending from some single-celled organisms, such as the dinoflagellates, that moves rapidly back and forth to impart movement to the organism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.