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 Some of the chloroplasts changed into more primitive, more motile proto-plastids that could get as small as 0.2 microns. Quanta Magazine, "Plant Cells of Different Species Can Swap Organelles," 20 Jan. 2021 Unencumbered by truth, the face becomes interesting, motile—a work of art. The New Yorker, "The Best Books We Read in 2020," 1 Dec. 2020 This process involves washing it to remove unwanted substances like non-motile sperm, white blood cells and prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals that can cause painful cramping when deposited into the uterus). Christina Caron, New York Times, "Getting Pregnant With IUI: What You Need to Know," 18 Apr. 2020 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 The bank guarantees a vial will have 10 million or 15 million total motile sperm. New York Times, "The Sperm Kings Have a Problem: Too Much Demand," 8 Jan. 2021 While the majority of male animals produce large numbers of small sperm, ostracods, the report authors said, produce small numbers of oversized sperm, with long motile tails. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Oldest animal sperm discovered in 100-million-year-old amber," 17 Sep. 2020 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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Last Updated

2 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Motile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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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

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