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

  • n. Biology A long, threadlike appendage, especially a whiplike extension of certain cells or unicellular organisms that functions as an organ of locomotion.
  • n. A whip.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In protists, a long, whiplike membrane-enclosed organelle used for locomotion or feeding.
  • n. In bacteria, a long, whiplike proteinaceous appendage, used for locomotion.
  • n. A whip

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A young, flexible shoot of a plant; esp., the long trailing branch of a vine, or a slender branch in certain mosses.
  • n.
  • n. A long, whiplike cilium. See Flagellata.
  • n. An appendage of the reproductive apparatus of the snail.
  • n. A lashlike appendage of a crustacean, esp. the terminal ortion of the antennæ and the epipodite of the maxilipeds. See Maxilliped.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In Rom. archæol., a scourge. The Roman scourges were made of leather thongs, several being attached to one handle, and sometimes of cord, to which metal rings were attached, or of wire twisted and eyed so as to form links, the instrument then consisting of many such links in strands of chain.
  • [NL.] In botany: A runner; a weak, creeping shoot sent out from the bottom of the stem, and rooting and forming new plants at the nodes, as in the strawberry
  • A twig or young shoot.
  • In certain Hepaticæ, a lashlike branch formed on the ventral surface of the stem, and bearing rudimentary leaves.
  • In biology, a long lash-like appendage to certain infusorians, bacteria, and protoplasmic reproductive bodies in cryptogams; a large cilium. By means of rapid vibration it serves as an organ of locomotion.
  • In entomology, the outer portion of a geniculate antenna, or of any antenna which has a long basal joint with shorter and regular joints beyond it. The basal joint is then called the scape, and the remainder of the organ is the flagellum. In Diptera and Nemocera it includes the whole antenna, exclusive of the two basal joints or scapes.
  • n. In sporozoans, a vibratile male gamete in Halteridium, a blood-parasite found in birds.

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

  • n. a whip used to inflict punishment (often used for pedantic humor)
  • n. a lash-like appendage used for locomotion (e.g., in sperm cells and some bacteria and protozoa)


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

Latin, diminutive of flagrum, whip.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin flagellum ("whip").



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  • Also the cellular appendage used by some cells to propel themselves through fluid media.

    February 7, 2008