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.
homunculus ho·mun·cu·lus (hō-mŭng'kyə-ləs, hə-)
n. pl. ho·mun·cu·li (-lī')
A diminutive human.
A miniature, fully formed individual which adherents of the early biological theory of preformation believed to be present in the sperm cell.