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spicule

[spik-yool] /ˈspɪk yul/
noun
1.
a small or minute, slender, sharp-pointed body or part; a small, needlelike crystal, process, or the like.
2.
Zoology. one of the small, hard, calcareous or siliceous bodies that serve as the skeletal elements of various marine and freshwater invertebrates.
3.
Astronomy. a jet of gas several hundred miles in diameter rising from the sun's surface to heights of 3000 to 6000 miles (4800 to 9600 km).
Origin
1775-1785
1775-85; < Latin spīculum spearhead, arrowhead, bee stinger, equivalent to spīc(a) ear of grain (see spica) + -ulum -ule
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for spicule

spicule

/ˈspɪkjuːl/
noun
1.
Also called spiculum. a small slender pointed structure or crystal, esp any of the calcareous or siliceous elements of the skeleton of sponges, corals, etc
2.
(astronomy) a spiked ejection of hot gas occurring over 5000 kilometres above the sun's surface (in its atmosphere) and having a diameter of about 1000 kilometres
Derived Forms
spiculate (ˈspɪkjʊˌleɪt; -lɪt) adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: spiculum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for spicule
n.

1785, from French spicule, from diminutive of Latin spica (see spike (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spicule in Medicine

spicule spic·ule (spĭk'yōōl) or spic·u·la (-yə-lə)
n. pl. spic·ules or spic·u·lae (-yə-lē)
A needlelike structure or part.


spic'u·lar (-yə-lər) or spic'u·late (-yə-lĭt, -lāt') 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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spicule in Science
spicule
  (spĭk'yl)   
  1. A needlelike structure or part, such as one of the mineral structures supporting the soft tissue of certain invertebrates, especially sponges.

  2. Any of numerous short-lived vertical jets of hot gas rising from the solar chromosphere and extending into the corona. Spicules, which only last for about five to ten minutes, are usually several hundred kilometers wide and several thousand kilometers high.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for spicule

a jet of dense gas ejected from the Sun's chromosphere. Spicules occur at the edges of the chromospheric network, where magnetic fields are stronger. They extend up to 10,000 km (6,000 miles) and, although they fall back to the Sun, are thought to contribute to the solar wind by feeding material into the corona

Learn more about spicule with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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