Definition of homunculus in English:

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Pronunciation: /həˈməNGkyələs/

noun (plural homunculi /-ˌlī/ or homuncules /-ˌlēz/)

1A very small human or humanoid creature.
Example sentences
  • Had Victor not abandoned his original mentors, necromancers like Paracelsus, Cornelius Agrippa, and Albertus Magnus, he might have created a harmless homunculus instead of the creature, who exacts revenge upon him.
  • In ‘Portrait of a Dwarf’, the homunculus stares back implacably at the viewer, returning our gaze while apparently indifferent to the upturned, writhing nude male in a glass cage to his left.
  • The front desk was old-school, too - a weary homunculus behind a desk, reading a newspaper, fetching your key and your messages from the slots behind him.
1.1 historical A supposed microscopic but fully formed human being from which a fetus was formerly believed to develop.
Example sentences
  • Yet other preformationists believed that the sperm contained the embryo and some even claimed to be able to see a tiny human - a homunculus - in the head of each human sperm.
  • In the caricatured version, preformationism has usually been ridiculed as the belief that a perfect homunculus lies within each sperm or egg cell.
  • There is no graphical representation - nothing like the tiny homunculus curled up in the head of a sperm which some of the earlier microscopists imagined they could see.


Mid 17th century: from Latin, diminutive of homo, homin- 'man'.

Words that rhyme with homunculus

furunculous, ranunculus
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