1 of 2


mo·​tile ˈmō-tᵊl How to pronounce motile (audio)
: exhibiting or capable of movement


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
Instead, the reduction in hormones and testes size only decreased the cichlids’ amount of motile sperm. Joseph Castro, Discover Magazine, 19 July 2011 Moreover, having normal semen volumes, sperm motility, sperm concentration, and total motile sperm counts are not guarantees of fertility. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 21 June 2021 Some of the chloroplasts changed into more primitive, more motile proto-plastids that could get as small as 0.2 microns. Quanta Magazine, 20 Jan. 2021 Unencumbered by truth, the face becomes interesting, motile—a work of art. The New Yorker, 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, 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, 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, 8 July 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'motile.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Latin motus, past participle of movēre

First Known Use


1857, in the meaning defined above


1886, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of motile was in 1857

Dictionary Entries Near motile

Cite this Entry

“Motile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: moving or able to move

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: exhibiting or capable of movement
motile cilia


2 of 2 noun
: 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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