• synonyms


[moht-l, moh-til]
  1. Biology. moving or capable of moving spontaneously: motile cells; motile spores.
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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 nonmotile

Historical Examples

  • In 36 hours a motile, tadpole-like stage is reached and in a few days the embryo becomes quiescent and nonmotile.

    The Biotic Associations of Cockroaches

    Louis M. Roth

  • This nonmotile stage is infective whereas the motile embryonic stage is not.

British Dictionary definitions for nonmotile


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



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nonmotile 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.
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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.

nonmotile in Science


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