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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Cilia \Cil"i*a\, n. pl. Cilium, the sing., is rarely used. [L. cilium eyelid.]

  1. (Anat.) The eyelashes.

  2. (Biol.) Small, generally microscopic, vibrating appendages lining certain organs, as the air passages of the higher animals, and in the lower animals often covering also the whole or a part of the exterior. They are also found on some vegetable organisms. In the Infusoria, and many larval forms, they are locomotive organs.

  3. (Bot.) Hairlike processes, commonly marginal and forming a fringe like the eyelash.

  4. (Zo["o]l.) Small, vibratory, swimming organs, somewhat resembling true cilia, as those of Ctenophora.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1715, from Latin cilia, plural of cilium "eyelid, eyelash," perhaps related to celare "to cover, hide," from PIE root *kel- "to conceal" (see cell), but words for this part of the face can be tricky (see brow). It sometimes is pluralized in English, which is an error. Related: Ciliated; ciliary; ciliate.


n. Irregular (plural of cilium nocap=true English)


See cilium

  1. n. a hairlike projection from the surface of a cell; provides locomotion in free-swimming unicellular organisms

  2. any of the short curved hairs that grow from the edges of the eyelids [syn: eyelash, lash]

  3. [also: cilia (pl)]

Cilia (entomology)

Cilia (Latin for eyelashes; the singular is cilium) in entomology are fine hairs along the edges of the insect wing.

Usage examples of "cilia".

Only phone calls, Cilia assured herself as she paced to the window and back.

He gave Cilia a brief salute as she began sorting through 45s and albums.

When she was alone, Cilia made a conscious effort to relax, muscle by muscle.

Lord, he looked wonderful, Cilia thought as she watched him turn toward the bar.

When he released her, Cilia turned quickly and chose a record at random.

Boyd rolled, taking Cilia with him so that their positions were reversed.

Tossed around some threats, blamed Cilia for undermining his position.

Without conscious thought on either side, Althea and Cilia clasped hands.

With a snap of the wrist, Cilia held out a twisted, melted piece of resin that had once been a fork.

As she left, Cilia took her arm, as if she needed support, to help her to the door.

The Princess, Berowne, Cilia who had joined them, they all came in and sat on the floor.

Milena watched her do it, and allowed herself to smile as Cilia pressed together crumbs.

She knew that Cilia respected her, and that she had earned that respect.

Dante moved through steam from the coffee tureen to a bench, and sat across from Cilia, and she judged him.

He explained them at great length to Cilia, who used every particle of her acting ability in looking rapt with fascination.