from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small needlelike structure, such as a copulatory organ in a nematode.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A needle-shaped splinter of bone.
  • noun In zoology, a spicula or spicule.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) Same as spicule.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A thrusting javelin used by Romans that replaced the pilum in the late 3rd century.
  • noun A sharp, pointed crystal, especially of ice.
  • noun zoology A sharp, needle-like structure, especially those making up the skeleton of a sponge.
  • noun astronomy A small radial emission of gas seen in the chromosphere and corona of the sun.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun small pointed structure serving as a skeletal element in various marine and freshwater invertebrates e.g. sponges and corals


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin spīculum, diminutive of spīca, point, ear of grain.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin spīculum ("a little, sharp point"), from spīcum, alternative form of spīca ("point, spike").


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  • Rossiter in this autumn of 1917 was extremely interested in certain crucial experiments he was making with spiculum in sponge-cells; with scleroblasts, "mason-cells," osteoblasts, and "consciousness" in bone-cells.

    Mrs. Warren's Daughter A Story of the Woman's Movement Harry Hamilton Johnston 1892

  • Stream of emotional, creative impulse strong enough and hot enough to thaw the classical icebergs till not a floating spiculum of them is left.

    A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century 1886

  • After sundry caresses between the two parties, during which they exhibit an animation quite foreign to them at other times, one of the snails unfolds from the right side of its neck, where the generative orifice is situated, a wide sacculus, which, by becoming everted, displays a sharp dagger-like spiculum, or dart, attached to its walls.

    Plain facts for old and young : embracing the natural history and hygiene of organic life. 1877

  • Refining on the more delicate sound of stipes, the Latins got 'stipula,' the thin stem of straw: which rustles and ripples daintily in verse, associated with spica and spiculum, used of the sharp pointed ear of corn, and its fine processes of fairy shafts.

    Proserpina, Volume 1 Studies Of Wayside Flowers John Ruskin 1859


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  • Latin Spike, sharp point or sting.

    July 9, 2008