Definitions

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

  • noun Any of several aerobic bacteria of the genus Spirillum, having an elongated spiral form and bearing tufts of flagellae.
  • noun Any of various other spiral-shaped bacteria, especially one formerly classified in this genus.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A bacterium of the genus Spirillum.
  • noun A genus or form-genus of Schizomycetes or bacteria, having cylindrical or somewhat compressed spirally twisted cells.

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

  • noun (Biol.) A genus of common motile microörganisms (Spirobacteria) having the form of spiral-shaped filaments. One species is said to be the cause of relapsing fever.

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

  • noun Any of various aerobic bacteria of the genus Spirillum, having an elongated spiral form and bearing a tuft of flagella.
  • noun Any of various other spiral-shaped microorganisms.

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

  • noun spirally twisted elongate rodlike bacteria usually living in stagnant water
  • noun any flagellated aerobic bacteria having a spirally twisted rodlike form

Etymologies

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

[New Latin Spīrillum, genus name, diminutive of Latin spīra, coil; see spire.]

Examples

  • On the opposing spread there are photos of crackling staphylococcus aureus, zig-zaggy leptospira, pickle-like vibrio, frightening spirillum volutans, a decaying tree, a microscope, and . . . wait for it . . . a bighorn sheep.

    Archive 2006-11-01

  • On the opposing spread there are photos of crackling staphylococcus aureus, zig-zaggy leptospira, pickle-like vibrio, frightening spirillum volutans, a decaying tree, a microscope, and . . . wait for it . . . a bighorn sheep.

    Review of the Day: The Invisible ABCs

  • On account of this developmental change, he doubted if the cholera organism should be ranked with bacilli; it is rather a transitional form between the bacillus and the spirillum.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 458, October 11, 1884

  • Possibly it is a true spirillum, portions of which appear in the comma shape, much as in other spirilla -- _e. g_., spirilla undula, which do not always form complete spirals, but consist only of more or less curved rods.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 458, October 11, 1884

  • But a resting state of the comma bacilli has never been met with -- a very exceptional thing in the case of bacilli, and another reason why the organism must be regarded rather as a spirillum than a bacillus, for the spirilla require only a fluid medium, and do not, like the anthrax bacilli, thrive in a dry state.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 458, October 11, 1884

  • "In some way," he replied quickly, "they have become infected by the bite of an African tick which carries spirillum fever."

    The Romance of Elaine Sequel to "Exploits of Elaine"

  • Then, with his assistant, he put on his white robes, mask, gloves and other precautions for asepsis, setting out the apparatus for the intravenous administration of the drug that would kill the spirillum.

    The Romance of Elaine Sequel to "Exploits of Elaine"

  • There can be no question that he saw them, for we can recognize in his descriptions of these various forms of little ` ` animals '' the four principal forms of microbes -- the long and short rods of bacilli and bacteria, the spheres of micrococci, and the corkscrew spirillum.

    A History of Science: in Five Volumes. Volume II: The Beginnings of Modern Science

  • a connection between the presence of bacillus spirillum and relapsing fever; and Mr. Talamon claiming to have discovered that diphtheria was due to an organism by means of which the virus could be conveyed from human beings to animals, and _vice versa_.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 358, November 11, 1882

  • a clearly defined _spirillum_, the _Treponema pallida_ of Schaudinn.

    Preventable Diseases

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