a plural of flagellum.
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noun, plural flagella [fluh-jel-uh] , flagellums.
Biology. a long, lashlike appendage serving as an organ of locomotion in protozoa, sperm cells, etc.
Botany. a runner.
Also called clavola. Entomology. (in an antenna) the whiplike portion above the basal joints.
a whip or lash.

1800–10; < Latin: whip, lash, diminutive of flagrum a whip, scourge

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World English Dictionary
flagellum (fləˈdʒɛləm)
n , pl -la, -lums
1.  biology a long whiplike outgrowth from a cell that acts as an organ of locomotion: occurs in some protozoans, gametes, spores, etc
2.  botany a long thin supple shoot or runner
3.  zoology the terminal whiplike part of an arthropod's appendage, esp of the antenna of many insects
[C19: from Latin: a little whip, from flagrum a whip, lash]

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Word Origin & History

1852, from L. flagellum whip, scourge (see flagellation).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

flagellum fla·gel·lum (flə-jěl'əm)
n. pl. fla·gel·la (-jěl'ə)
A threadlike appendage, especially a whiplike extension of certain cells or organisms that functions as an organ of locomotion.

fla·gel'lar (-jěl'ər) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
flagellum   (flə-jěl'əm)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural flagella
A slender whiplike part extending from some single-celled organisms, such as the dinoflagellates, that moves rapidly back and forth to impart movement to the organism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Intelligent design mavens once cited flagella as evidence of their theory.
Charged ions flow across the membrane, which makes the cell's flagella move.
Choanocytes use these filaments, called flagella, to paddle water past
Both upper and lower surfaces bear flagella that the creature uses to swim
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