Share this entry

Share this page

cilium

Syllabification: cil·i·um
Pronunciation: /ˈsilēəm
 
/

Definition of cilium in English:

noun (usually in plural cilia /ˈsilēə/)

Biology & Anatomy
1A short, microscopic, hairlike vibrating structure. Cilia occur in large numbers on the surface of certain cells, either causing currents in the surrounding fluid, or, in some protozoans and other small organisms, providing propulsion.
Example sentences
  • Some single-celled organisms called protists do in fact use cilia on their cell surface to swim through water.
  • Our respiratory systems are lined with millions of tiny cilia that clean all kinds of irritants - germs, dust, mucus - out of our bodies.
  • As the cilia whip around clockwise, they circulate the fluids.
1.1An eyelash, or a delicate hairlike structure that resembles one.
Example sentences
  • Ectopic cilia are particularly irritating and likely to cause corneal ulcers.
  • Normally the eyelashes (or cilia) grow from follicles in the eyelid.

Origin

early 18th century (in the sense 'eyelash'): from Latin.

Words that rhyme with cilium

beryllium, psyllium, trillium

Definition of cilium in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtenəbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure