n. pl. fi·lar·i·ae (-ē-ē′)
Any of various slender, threadlike nematode worms of the superfamily Filarioidea that are parasitic in vertebrates and are often transmitted as larvae by mosquitoes and other biting insects. Infestation with different species of filariae cause diseases such as lymphatic filariasis (which can lead to elephantiasis) and onchocerciasis.
[New Latin Fīlāria, former genus name, from Latin fīlum, thread; see gwhī- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
fi·lari·al (-ē-əl), fi·lari·an (-ē-ən) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.