an·​i·​mal·​cule ˌa-nə-ˈmal-(ˌ)kyü(ə)l How to pronounce animalcule (audio)
variants or less commonly animalculum
plural animalcules also animalcula ˌa-nə-ˈmal-kyə-lə How to pronounce animalcule (audio)
: a minute usually microscopic organism

Examples of animalcule in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The last time this tiny wheel animalcule was moving around, wooly mammoths roamed the earth. Karen Hopkin, Scientific American, 17 Aug. 2021 Van Leeuwenhoek estimated, correctly, that there were more animalcules swimming and creeping around in his mouth than there were people living in the Netherlands. Jonathan Weiner, New York Times, 15 Aug. 2016

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

Word History


New Latin animalculum, diminutive of Latin animal

First Known Use

1662, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of animalcule was in 1662

Dictionary Entries Near animalcule

Cite this Entry

“Animalcule.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


an·​i·​mal·​cule ˌan-ə-ˈmal-kyül How to pronounce animalcule (audio)
: a very small organism that is invisible or nearly invisible to the naked eye

Medical Definition


an·​i·​mal·​cule ˌan-ə-ˈmal-(ˌ)kyü(ə)l How to pronounce animalcule (audio)
variants also animalculum
plural animalcules also animalcula -kyə-lə How to pronounce animalcule (audio)
: a minute usually microscopic organism

More from Merriam-Webster on animalcule

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