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

  • n. Any of various slender, spiral, motile bacteria of the order Spirochaetales, many of which are pathogenic, causing syphilis, relapsing fever, yaws, and other diseases.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. any of several coiled bacteria, of the order Spirochaetales, most of which are pathogenic to both humans and animals

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

  • n. parasitic or free-living bacteria; many pathogenic to humans and other animals


New Latin Spīrochaeta, genus name : Latin spīra, coil; see spire2 + New Latin chaeta, bristle, hair; see chaeta.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • Oh, yes. Good catch. :-)

    May 24, 2008

  • reesetee, this one is definitely worse than it sounds, no? It's an awfully pretty word for such a nasty thing.

    May 24, 2008