Definition of spirochaete in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈspʌɪrə(ʊ)kiːt/
(US spirochete)


A flexible spirally twisted bacterium, especially one that causes syphilis.
Example sentences
  • Visit the Microbe Zoo for pictures and information about spirochetes and other bacteria which live in the cow rumen.
  • 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.


Late 19th century: from spiro-1 'in a spiral' + Greek khaitē 'long hair'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: spiro|chaete

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.