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.
Also, spirochaete.

1875–80; < Neo-Latin spīrochaeta. See spiro-2, chaeta-

spirochetal, spirochetic, adjective
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Word Origin & History

1877, from Mod.L. Spirochæta, the genus name, from spiro- Mod.L. comb. form of Gk. speira "a coil" (see spiral) + Gk. chaite "hair."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spirochete   (spī'rə-kēt')  Pronunciation Key 
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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