Aciliate – Definition & Meaning

Aciliate is a term that is used in different contexts, and it has different meanings depending on the field of study. The word aciliate is not commonly used in everyday language, but it is frequently used in scientific research, biology, and medicine. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of aciliate, its origin, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and some examples of its usage.


Aciliate is an adjective that describes something that is without cilia or flagella, which are slender, hair-like structures that protrude from the surface of cells. Cilia and flagella are essential for the movement of cells, and they are found in many organisms, including bacteria, algae, and eukaryotic cells. When a cell is aciliate, it means that it lacks these structures, making it immobile.


The word aciliate is derived from the Latin word “acilis,” which means “needle” or “hair.” The term was first used in the scientific literature in the early 20th century to describe cells that were lacking cilia or flagella.

Meaning in different dictionaries

Aciliate is not a commonly used word, and it is not found in many dictionaries. However, some scientific dictionaries have included the term in their lexicons. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary defines aciliate as “lacking cilia or flagella.” Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary defines aciliate as “without cilia or flagella.”


Aciliate is associated with the absence of cilia or flagella, which are essential for the movement of cells. Some organisms, such as bacteria, do not have cilia or flagella, and they are aciliate by nature. However, other organisms, such as eukaryotic cells, can become aciliate due to genetic mutations or environmental factors.


There are several synonyms for aciliate, including non-ciliate, flagellum-free, and cilia-less.


The antonyms of aciliate are ciliate and flagellate, which describe cells that have cilia or flagella.

The same root words

The root word of aciliate is “cilium,” which is a Latin word that means “eyelash.” Cilia are hair-like structures that protrude from the surface of cells, and they are essential for the movement of cells. The root word “cilium” is also found in other scientific terms, such as ciliary muscle, which is a muscle that controls the shape of the lens in the eye.

Example Sentences

Here are some examples of how the word aciliate can be used in different contexts:

  • The bacteria in the sample were found to be aciliate, which means they lacked cilia or flagella.
  • The genetic mutation caused the eukaryotic cells to become aciliate, making them immobile.
  • The aciliate cells were unable to move towards the source of the chemical signal.
  • The scientists observed that the aciliate protozoan was unable to swim towards its prey.
  • The microscope revealed that the aciliate organism had no cilia or flagella.
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