Definition of ciliate in US English:



  • A single-celled animal of a phylum distinguished by the possession of cilia or ciliary structures. The ciliates are a large and diverse group of advanced protozoans.

    Phylum Ciliophora, kingdom Protista (formerly class Ciliata, phylum Protozoa)

    • ‘In the most recent classification of ciliates, the group is divided into eight classes.’
    • ‘The feeding preferences of the ciliates were highly discerning with respect to the nature of the prey species.’
    • ‘Ciliates include some of the largest free-living unicellular organisms.’
    • ‘Most ciliates cannot reproduce indefinitely by asexual fission, and eventually die out if prohibited from conjugating.’
    • ‘Several of his images of ciliates are available; look under ‘Infusoria,’ an older name for the Ciliata.’


  • 1(of an organism, cell, or surface) bearing cilia.

    • ‘In the present study we were unable to observe cilia in any presumptive ciliate protozoan.’
    • ‘Although their roles as parasitic castrators has been documented, relatively little is known about the biology of ciliate parasites in mayflies.’
    1. 1.1Botany (of a margin) having a fringe of hairs.
      • ‘The species displays narrower leaves without a ciliate margin.’