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or spirochaete

[spahy-ruh-keet] /ˈspaɪ rəˌkit/
any of various spiral-shaped motile bacteria of the family Spirochaetaceae, certain species, as Treponema, Leptospira, and Borrelia, being pathogenic to humans and other animals, and other species being free-living, saprophytic, or parasitic.
Origin of spirochete
1875-80; < New Latin spīrochaeta. See spiro-2, chaeta-
Related forms
spirochetal, spirochetic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for spirochaete


any of a group of spirally coiled rodlike bacteria that includes the causative agent of syphilis See treponema
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin spīrochaeta; see spiro-², chaeta
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 spirochaete



1877, from Modern Latin Spirochæta, the genus name, from spiro- Modern Latin comb. form of Greek speira "a coil" (see spiral) + Greek khaite "hair" (see chaeto-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spirochaete in Medicine

spirochete spi·ro·chete (spī'rə-kēt')
Any of various slender, spiral, motile bacteria of the order Spirochaetales, many of which are pathogenic, causing syphilis, relapsing fever, yaws, and other diseases.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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spirochaete in Science
Any of various bacteria of the order Spirochaetales that are shaped like a spiral, such as Treponema pallidum, the pathogen that causes syphilis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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