homunculus

noun
ho·​mun·​cu·​lus | \ hō-ˈməŋ-kyə-ləs How to pronounce homunculus (audio) \
plural homunculi\ hō-​ˈməŋ-​kyə-​ˌlī How to pronounce homunculus (audio) , -​ˌlē \

Definition of homunculus

1 : a little man : manikin
2 : a miniature adult that in the theory of preformation is held to inhabit the germ cell and to produce a mature individual merely by an increase in size

Examples of homunculus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In an article published in Brain in 1937 that first described the work that led to the development and refinement of the homunculus. Dana G. Smith, Scientific American, 17 Mar. 2022 Penfield’s original homunculus did not include the vulva or breasts, and out of the more than 400 people involved, only nine of them were women. Dana G. Smith, Scientific American, 17 Mar. 2022 That’s a twist so preposterous it’s high camp, since the guy who isn’t the killer is a homunculus who looks like Danny DeVito in a hospital gown. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 8 Sep. 2021 Maxwell posited a tiny homunculus that could cordon off hotter, faster molecules from colder, slower ones. Washington Post, 24 Dec. 2020 And along comes Robert Frank, the hairy homunculus, the European Jew with his 35-mm. Philip Gefter, New York Times, 10 Sep. 2019 The book culminates with Christian’s involvement in complex laboratory preparations, including the creation of a bird that is then killed; its ashes are used to make two homunculi, which, in the laboratory, grow to become the bridal couple. Peter Bebergal, The New Yorker, 26 Oct. 2016 See More

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

First Known Use of homunculus

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for homunculus

Latin, diminutive of homin-, homo human being — more at homage

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Time Traveler for homunculus

Time Traveler

The first known use of homunculus was in 1656

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Dictionary Entries Near homunculus

homuncular

homunculus

homy

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Statistics for homunculus

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Homunculus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homunculus. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for homunculus

homunculus

noun
ho·​mun·​cu·​lus | \ hō-ˈməŋ-kyə-ləs How to pronounce homunculus (audio) \
plural homunculi\ -​ˌlī How to pronounce homunculus (audio) , -​ˌlē How to pronounce homunculus (audio) \

Medical Definition of homunculus

: a miniature adult that in the theory of preformation was held to inhabit the germ cell and to produce a mature individual merely by an increase in size

More from Merriam-Webster on homunculus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for homunculus

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about homunculus

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