• synonyms


  1. any colonial, freshwater green algae of the genus Volvox, forming a hollow, greenish sphere of flagellated cells.
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Origin of volvox

1790–1800; < New Latin, equivalent to Latin volv(ere) to turn, roll + -ōx (as in ferōx)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for volvox

Historical Examples

  • In all of these the structure of the cells is essentially as in Volvox.

    Elements of Structural and Systematic Botany

    Douglas Houghton Campbell

  • Of the forms that are united in colonies one of the best known is Volvox (Fig. 10).

  • This, it is affirmed by Dr. Hicks, takes place in Volvox, under circumstances which suggest a vegetable transformation.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

  • In some cases (Volvox) the cluster, or the compound plant, is round and moves briskly in the water, closely resembling an animal.

  • If a half-inch lens be now used, the structure of the volvox begins to be exhibited.

British Dictionary definitions for volvox


  1. any freshwater flagellate protozoan of the genus Volvox, occurring in colonies in the form of hollow multicellular spheres
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Word Origin

C18: from New Latin, from Latin volvere to roll
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 volvox


1798, from Latin volvere "to roll," from PIE root *wel- "to turn, revolve," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects (cf. Sanskrit valate "turns round," ulvam "womb, vulva;" Lithuanian valtis "twine, net," apvalus "round;" Old Church Slavonic valiti "roll, welter," vluna "wave;" Greek eluo "wind, wrap," helix "spiral object," eilein "to turn, squeeze;" Gothic walwjan "to roll;" Old English wealwian "roll," weoloc "whelk, spiral-shelled mollusk;" Old High German walzan "to roll, waltz;" Old Irish fulumain "rolling;" Welsh olwyn "wheel").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper