pilus

noun
pi·​lus | \ ˈpī-ləs How to pronounce pilus (audio) \
plural pili\ ˈpī-​ˌlī How to pronounce pili (audio) \

Definition of pilus

: a hair or a structure (as on the surface of a bacterial cell) resembling a hair

Examples of pilus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Maybe each of those growths, known as a pilus, was actually a wire that latched onto the rust, Dr. Lovley thought. New York Times, "Wired Bacteria Form Nature’s Power Grid: ‘We Have an Electric Planet’," 1 July 2019

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

First Known Use of pilus

1760, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pilus

Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pilus

Time Traveler for pilus

Time Traveler

The first known use of pilus was in 1760

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pilus

Cite this Entry

“Pilus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pilus. Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pilus

pilus

noun
pi·​lus | \ ˈpī-ləs How to pronounce pilus (audio) \
plural pili\ -​ˌlī How to pronounce pili (audio) \

Medical Definition of pilus

: a hair or a structure (as on the surface of a bacterial cell) resembling a hair

More from Merriam-Webster on pilus

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pilus

Comments on pilus

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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