Definition of spirochete in English:


(British spirochaete)


  • A flexible spirally twisted bacterium, especially one that causes syphilis.

    • ‘The disease organism is a spirochete bacterium which can be treated successfully with antibiotics, particularly when the disease is recognized early.’
    • ‘Dark-field microscopic examination of a swabbed sample from the chancre may reveal the presence of vibrating spirochetes, but this is technically difficult and the chancre often has resolved by this stage.’
    • ‘Penicillin also kills corkscrew organisms such as the spirochete of syphillis.’
    • ‘They are genetically unrelated to non-intestinal spirochetes, such as Treponema pallidum.’
    • ‘It is caused by a spirochete (a type of spiral-shaped bacteria) called Borrelia burgdorferi.’
    • ‘Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum.’
    • ‘Even for the little wrigglers we can see on specially stained microscope slides, such as the dreaded syphilitic spirochete, there is no Date of Receipt that comes with the dose.’
    • ‘Lyme disease, a disease transmitted by ticks carrying the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common insect-borne illness in the United States.’
    • ‘Lyme disease, caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States.’
    • ‘In its primary and secondary stages, syphilis induces raw, oozing genital sores in which the syphilis spirochetes multiply, eager to hitch a ride on the next sex partner.’
    • ‘The gut sections revealed not only bits of wood but also numerous protists and bacteria, including large spirochetes.’
    • ‘Visit the Microbe Zoo for pictures and information about spirochetes and other bacteria which live in the cow rumen.’
    • ‘As in Gram-positive bacteria, the inner membrane of spirochetes is closely associated with the peptidoglycan cell wall.’
    • ‘In recent population genetic studies of Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia genes were directly amplified from infected ticks using a nested PCR design.’
    • ‘Relapsing fever is caused by the spirochete within the genus Borrelia.’
    • ‘His other example was less obvious: Borrelia, the spirochaete responsible for the tickborne Lyme disease.’
    • ‘Once fixed by microbes such as spirochetes, the nitrogen ultimately becomes available to plants and animals.’
    • ‘The spirochaete responsible for syphilis was only isolated in 1905 by the German zoologist Fritz Schaudinn.’
    • ‘And recently, researchers identified a nitrogen-fixing spirochete bacterium that lives in the gut of termites.’
    • ‘Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to human hosts by ticks of the Ixodes genus.’


Late 19th century: from spiro- in a spiral + Greek khaitē long hair.