homunculus

[huh-muhng-kyuh-luhs, hoh-]
noun, plural homunculi [huh-muhng-kyuh-lahy, hoh-] .
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:
1650–60; < Latin, equivalent to homun- (variant of homin-, stem of homō man; see Homo) + -culus -cule1

homuncular, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To homunculus
Collins
World English Dictionary
homunculus (hɒˈmʌŋkjʊləs, həʊˈmʌŋkjuːl)
 
n , pl -li
1.  a miniature man; midget
2.  (in early biological theory) a fully-formed miniature human being existing in a spermatozoon or egg
 
[C17: from Latin, diminutive of homo man]
 
ho'muncular
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

homunculus
1650s, from L., lit. "little person," from homo (gen. hominis) "man, human being" + -culus, dim. suffix, source of English -cle.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

homunculus ho·mun·cu·lus (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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
There is no little homunculus up there watching reality on a screen and then deciding how to proceed.
And he points out that exactly the same problem applies to how the homunculus would perceive its own qualia.
It's that damned old homunculus problem and an infinite regress.
He is a homunculus hatched out of a seething medium of bile and bounced checks.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;