One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A slender threadlike structure, especially a microscopic whiplike appendage that enables many protozoa, bacteria, spermatozoa, etc., to swim.
sprout, offshoot, scion, sucker, bud, spear, runner, tendril, sprig, cuttingView synonyms
- ‘The single flagellum provides the bacteria with mobility and kinetic activity.’
- ‘Cilia and flagella are hairlike organelles extending from the cell surface.’
- ‘A third group of bacteria has many flagella surrounding the cell.’
- ‘Development of the spermatid flagellum begins immediately after meiosis.’
- ‘This study was designed to learn how well the flagella of groups of bacteria might move fluid in a microscopic environment.’
Early 19th century (denoting a whip or scourge): from Latin, diminutive of flagrum ‘scourge’.
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