[ spahy-ril-uh m ]
/ spaɪˈrɪl əm /

noun, plural spi·ril·la [spahy-ril-uh] /spaɪˈrɪl ə/. Bacteriology.

any of several spirally twisted, aerobic bacteria of the genus Spirillum, certain species of which are pathogenic for humans.
any of various similar microorganisms.


Discover The Influence Of Portuguese On English Via This Quiz!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following bird names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of spirillum

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


spi·ril·lar, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for spirilla

British Dictionary definitions for spirilla

/ (spaɪˈrɪləm) /

noun plural -la (-lə)

any bacterium having a curved or spirally twisted rodlike bodyCompare coccus (def. 1), bacillus (def. 1)
any bacterium of the genus Spirillum, such as S. minus, which causes ratbite fever

Derived forms of spirillum

spirillar, adjective

Word Origin for spirillum

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

Medical definitions for spirilla (1 of 2)

[ spī-rĭləm ]

n. pl. spi•ril•la (-rĭlə)

A member of the genus Spirillum.
Any of various other spiral-shaped microorganisms.

Medical definitions for spirilla (2 of 2)



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.

Scientific definitions for spirilla

[ spī-rĭləm ]

Plural spirilla

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.