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
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
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.
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