noun, plural fla·gel·la [fluhjeluh] /fləˈdʒɛl ə/, fla·gel·lums.

  1. Biology. a long, lashlike appendage serving as an organ of locomotion in protozoa, sperm cells, etc.
  2. Botany. a runner.
  3. Also called clavola. Entomology. (in an antenna) the whiplike portion above the basal joints.
  4. a whip or lash.

noun plural -la (-lə) or -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

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

n. pl. fla•gel•la (-jĕlə)

  1. A threadlike appendage, especially a whiplike extension of certain cells or organisms that functions as an organ of locomotion.

Plural flagella

  1. 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.

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