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[fluh-jel-uh m] /fləˈdʒɛl əm/
noun, plural flagella
[fluh-jel-uh] /fləˈdʒɛl ə/ (Show IPA),
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.
Origin of flagellum
1800-10; < Latin: whip, lash, diminutive of flagrum a whip, scourge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for flagellum
  • So what happens is that the information that these receptors pick up gets transferred down to the motor that spins the flagellum.
  • It trails a second flagellum as a rudder and veers toward nutrients and sunlight.
  • Intelligent design is an argument by inference, and the example that proponents dote upon is the bacterial flagellum.
  • He doesn't know anything about why a flagellum is not irreducibly complex, or anything about geology.
  • For example, the bacterium flagellum or the eye cannot evolve on their own because they are irreducibly complex.
  • It had already been done with the bacterial flagellum and blood clotting.
  • He brings up the bacterial flagellum, which has been proven to be reducible.
  • If those making that argument failed in the case of bacteria or flagellum motors or whatever, it was for that reason.
  • He added that the bacterial flagellum is still irreducibly complex in the sense that the subset does not function as a flagellum.
British Dictionary definitions for flagellum


noun (pl) -la (-lə), -lums
(biology) a long whiplike outgrowth from a cell that acts as an organ of locomotion: occurs in some protozoans, gametes, spores, etc
(botany) a long thin supple shoot or runner
(zoology) the terminal whiplike part of an arthropod's appendage, esp of the antenna of many insects
Derived Forms
flagellar, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Latin: a little whip, from flagrum a whip, lash
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
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Word Origin and History for flagellum

1852, in reference to microbes, from Latin flagellum "whip, scourge," diminutive of flagrum "whip," from PIE root *bhlag- "to strike."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flagellum in Medicine

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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flagellum in Science
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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