[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. spirelet,
  2. spireme,
  3. spires,
  4. spiriferous,
  5. spirillar,
  6. spirillum minus,
  7. spirit,
  8. spirit away,
  9. spirit cave,
  10. spirit compass

Origin of spirillum

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

Related formsspi·ril·lar, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spirillum

British Dictionary definitions for spirillum


/ (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 Formsspirillar, 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

Word Origin and History for spirillum



(plural spirilla), 1875, Modern Latin, diminutive of Latin spira (see spiral (adj.)). So called for their structure.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for spirillum


[ spī-rĭləm ]

n. pl. spi•ril•la (-rĭlə)

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.

Science definitions for spirillum


[ 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.