"the eyelashes, hairs which grow from the margins of the eyelid," 1715, from Latin cilia, plural of cilium "eyelid, eyelash," perhaps related to celare "to cover, hide," from PIE root *kel-(1) "to cover, conceal, save," but words for this part of the face can be tricky (see brow). Later extended to one of the minute hair-like processes projecting from a cell or organism (1835). It sometimes is pluralized in English, which is an error. Related: Ciliary; ciliate.
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