homunculus [huh-muhng-kyuh-luh s, hoh-] Word Origin noun, plural ho·mun·cu·li [huh-muhng-kyuh-lahy, hoh-] /həˈmʌŋ kyəˌlaɪ, hoʊ-/.

  1. an artificially made dwarf, supposedly produced in a flask by an alchemist.
  2. a fully formed, miniature human body believed, according to some medical theories of the 16th and 17th centuries, to be contained in the spermatozoon.
  3. a diminutive human being.
  4. the human fetus.

Origin of homunculus 1650–60; Latin, equivalent to homun- (variant of homin-, stem of homō man; see Homo) + -culus -cule1 Related formsho·mun·cu·lar, adjective British Dictionary definitions for homuncular homunculus noun plural -li (-ˌlaɪ)

  1. a miniature man; midget
  2. (in early biological theory) a fully-formed miniature human being existing in a spermatozoon or egg

Former name: homuncule (həʊˈmʌŋkjuːl) Derived Formshomuncular, adjectiveWord Origin for homunculus C17: from Latin, diminutive of homo man Word Origin and History for homuncular adj.

1822, from homunculus + -ar.

homunculus n.

1650s, from Latin homunculus, literally “little person,” from homo (genitive hominis) “man, human being,” the Latin word that means “man, person, a human being” (technically “male human,” but in logical and scholastic writing “human being”), also “the human race, mankind,” perhaps from PIE *(dh)ghomon-, literally “earthling,” from *dhghem- “earth” (see chthonic; also cf. human). With -culus, Latin diminutive suffix. Other Latin diminutives from homo included homullus, homuncio.

homuncular in Medicine homunculus [hō-mŭng′kyə-ləs, hə-] n. pl. ho•mun•cu•li (-lī′)

  1. A diminutive human.
  2. A miniature, fully formed individual which adherents of the early biological theory of preformation believed to be present in the sperm cell.
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