mo·​tile | \ ˈmō-tᵊl How to pronounce motile (audio) , -ˌtī(-ə)l \

Definition of motile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: exhibiting or capable of movement



Definition of motile (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person whose prevailing mental imagery takes the form of inner feelings of action

Examples of motile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In that Human Fertility study, only 37 percent of the sperm-containing precum samples had a fair amount of motile sperm, as in, ones that could make the journey toward an egg. Kasandra Brabaw, SELF, "Can You Get Pregnant From Precum?," 7 Mar. 2019 For Mr. Alaïa, each stitch, every motile moment, has to have an integral (as opposed to decorative) reason for being. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "At Couture Fashion Week, An Antidote to the Instagram Age," 8 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then the motile dendritic cells circulate through the body and spread the prion via TNTs to the spleen and lymph nodes (which are immune system organs) and peripheral nerves. Quanta Magazine, "Cells Talk and Help One Another via Tiny Tube Networks," 23 Apr. 2018 At their headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia, SCBI scientists performed Rizzo’s artificial insemination with a sample of approximately 300 million motile oryx sperm—10 times more than previously used for such procedures. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "New Artificial Insemination Technique Successfully Breeds Critically Endangered Scimitar-Horned Oryx," 10 July 2018 Floor-length silk fringe created a motile surface on capes and gowns, ever adrift in the wind. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Fashion Parties With the French President," 6 Mar. 2018 Others saw the motile creatures in the semen and believed them to be the source of the future baby. Abraham Verghese, New York Times, "Where Do Babies Come From? And Why Did It Take Scientists So Long to Find Out?," 23 June 2017

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

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First Known Use of motile


1857, in the meaning defined above


1886, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for motile


Latin motus, past participle of movēre

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Time Traveler for motile

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The first known use of motile was in 1857

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Cite this Entry

“Motile.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for motile


mo·​tile | \ ˈmōt-ᵊl How to pronounce motile (audio) , ˈmō-ˌtīl How to pronounce motile (audio) \

Medical Definition of motile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: exhibiting or capable of movement motile cilia



Medical Definition of motile (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person whose prevailing mental imagery is motor rather than visual or auditory and takes the form of inner feelings of action — compare audile entry 1, tactile entry 2, visualizer

More from Merriam-Webster on motile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with motile

Comments on motile

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to help to grow, develop, or succeed

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