di·​no·​fla·​gel·​late | \ˌdī-nō-ˈfla-jə-lət, -ˌlāt;-flə-ˈje-lət\

Definition of dinoflagellate 

: any of an order (Dinoflagellata) of chiefly marine planktonic usually solitary unicellular phytoflagellates that include luminescent forms, forms important in marine food chains, and forms causing red tide

Examples of dinoflagellate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Red tides are caused by a type of unicellular algae known as a dinoflagellate. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What Are Red Tides and Why Are They Getting Worse?," 14 Aug. 2018 Red tide is a natural occurrence that happens due to the presence of nutrients in the water and an organism called a dinoflagellate. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "In first 8 months of year, manatee death toll surpasses 2017," 20 Aug. 2018 The nicest thing one can say about K. brevis is that it is named in honor of Karen Steidinger, a renown expert who studied the harmful dinoflagellate for 40 years. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What Are Red Tides and Why Are They Getting Worse?," 14 Aug. 2018 After dark, the tour searches for blooms of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, small organisms in the water that produce a burst of light when excited by motion. Necee Regis, BostonGlobe.com, "Here, there, and everywhere," 12 June 2018 Getaway Adventures leads the paddling after dark through waters that contain bioluminescent dinoflagellates, small organisms that light up in the water when excited by the movement of the kayaks. Phil Marty, chicagotribune.com, "Music across the Midwest, rib festival in Indiana and more reasons to hit the road," 30 May 2018 The phenomenon is caused by high concentrations of tiny aquatic organisms called dinoflagellates, according to the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Rare Phenomenon Made the Ocean in California Glow Blue This Week," 12 May 2018 Scripps scientist Michael Latz said the red tide is due to massive numbers of dinoflagellates including Lingulodinium polyedra. CBS News, "Bioluminescence from red tide: Algae bloom literally lighting up San Diego waves at night," 9 May 2018 Based on analysis of a water sample provided by Scripps collector Phil Zerofski, the water contains dense numbers of dinoflagellates especially Ceratium falcatiforme and Lingulodinium polyedra. Gary Robbins, latimes.com, "Nighttime surf glowing with aqua-colored light dazzles San Diego beach," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dinoflagellate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dinoflagellate

1901, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dinoflagellate

ultimately from Greek dinos rotation, eddy + New Latin flagellum

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dinoflagellate

Share dinoflagellate

Statistics for dinoflagellate

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dinoflagellate

The first known use of dinoflagellate was in 1901

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dinoflagellate


di·​no·​fla·​gel·​late | \ˌdī-nō-ˈflaj-ə-lət, -ˌlāt, -flə-ˈjel-ət\

Medical Definition of dinoflagellate 

: any of division or phylum (Dinoflagellata) of chiefly marine, planktonic, unicellular protists that include luminescent forms, forms important in marine food chains, and forms causing red tide

More from Merriam-Webster on dinoflagellate

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dinoflagellate

Comments on dinoflagellate

What made you want to look up dinoflagellate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!