- any of several spirally twisted, aerobic bacteria of the genus Spirillum, certain species of which are pathogenic for humans.
- any of various similar microorganisms.
Origin of spirillum
1870–75; < New Latin, equivalent to Latin spīr(a) (see spire2) + -illum diminutive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for spirilla
As early as 1873, spirilla were demonstrated in relapsing fever.The Evolution of Modern Medicine
The same takes place with the spirilla of recurrent typhus and the microbe of erysipelas.
When division occurs in one plane only, the possible groupings are the same as among the spirilla or bacilli.
These terms are rarely used, since spirilla do not ordinarily remain attached.
Division might occur in one plane only as in spirilla and bacilli, or in two planes only or in all three planes.
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
Word Origin and History for spirilla
(plural spirilla), 1875, Modern Latin, diminutive of Latin spira (see spiral (adj.)). So called for their structure.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A member of the genus Spirillum.
- Any of various other spiral-shaped microorganisms.
- 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.
- 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.