[ spahy-ril-uhm ]

noun,plural spi·ril·la [spahy-ril-uh]. /spaɪˈrɪl ə/. Bacteriology.
  1. any of several spirally twisted, aerobic bacteria of the genus Spirillum, certain species of which are pathogenic for humans.

  2. any of various similar microorganisms.

Origin of spirillum

1870–75; <New Latin, equivalent to Latin spīr(a) (see spire2) + -illum diminutive suffix

Other words from spirillum

  • spi·ril·lar, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spirillum in a sentence

  • The same takes place with the spirilla of recurrent typhus and the microbe of erysipelas.

  • Each spirilla is animated by the life-force of a plane, and four are at present normally active, one for each round.

    Occult Chemistry | Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
  • Thus we recognise those that are globular—cocci; those that resemble a rod—bacilli; the spiral or wavy forms—spirilla.

    Manual of Surgery | Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • Spirilla are long, slender, thread-like cells, more or less spiral or wavy.

    Manual of Surgery | Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • Often these filaments are not straight, but spirally twisted, and are called "spirilla."

    More Science From an Easy Chair | Sir E. Ray (Edwin Ray) Lankester

British Dictionary definitions for spirillum


/ (spaɪˈrɪləm) /

nounplural -la (-lə)
  1. any bacterium having a curved or spirally twisted rodlike body: Compare coccus (def. 1), bacillus (def. 1)

  2. any bacterium of the genus Spirillum, such as S. minus, which causes ratbite fever

Origin of spirillum

C19: from New Latin, literally: a little coil, from spīra a coil

Derived forms of spirillum

  • spirillar, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for spirillum


[ spī-rĭləm ]

Plural spirilla
  1. 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.