• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural a·moe·bas, a·moe·bae [uh-mee-bee] /əˈmi bi/.
  1. ameba.


or a·moe·ba

noun, plural a·me·bas, a·me·bae [uh-mee-bee] /əˈmi bi/.
  1. any of numerous freshwater, marine, or parasitic one-celled protozoa of the order Amoebida, characterized by a granular nucleus surrounded by a jellylike mass of cytoplasm that forms temporary extensions, or pseudopodia, by which the organism moves, engulfs food particles, and forms food vacuoles.
  2. a protozoan of the genus Amoeba, inhabiting bottom vegetation of freshwater ponds and streams: used widely in laboratory studies.

Origin of ameba

< New Latin amoeba < Greek amoibḗ change, alternation, akin to ameíbein to exchange
Related formsa·me·ba·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amoebae

Historical Examples

  • Studies on some Amoebae from the termite Mirotermes, with notes on some other protozoa from the Termitidae.

    The Biotic Associations of Cockroaches

    Louis M. Roth

  • You can figure things out in your own little head instead of just getting along on dum psionic luck like us amoebae.

    Occasion for Disaster

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Now, the Amoebae have neither a nervous system nor distinguishable organs of any kind.

    The Life of the Bee

    Maurice Maeterlinck

  • The amoebae are almost invariably found in the large intestine; one species, indeed, is termed Amoeba coli.

British Dictionary definitions for amoebae


noun plural -bae (-biː) or -bas
  1. the usual US spelling of amoeba
Derived Formsamebic, adjective


US ameba

noun plural -bae (-biː) or -bas
  1. any protozoan of the phylum Rhizopoda, esp any of the genus Amoeba, able to change shape because of the movements of cell processes (pseudopodia). They live in fresh water or soil or as parasites in man and animals
Derived Formsamoebic or US amebic, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from New Latin, from Greek amoibē change, from ameibein to change, exchange
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for amoebae

classical plural of amoeba; see -ae.



1855, from Modern Latin Amoeba, genus name (1841), from Greek amoibe "change," related to ameibein "to change, exchange," from PIE *e-meigw-, extended form of root *mei- "to change, go, move" (see mutable). So called for its constantly changing shape. Related: Amoebaean; amoebic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

amoebae in Medicine


n. pl. a•me•bas
  1. A protozoa of the genus Amoeba and of related genera, occurring in soil and water and parasitic in animals.


([object Object])
  1. Variant ofameba


n. pl. a•moe•bas
  1. A genus of protozoa of the class Sarcodina or Rhizopoda.
  2. Any of several genera of protozoa that are parasitic in humans, especially Entamoeba.

amoebae in Science


Plural amoebas amoebae (ə-mē)
  1. Any of various one-celled aquatic or parasitic protozoans of the genus Amoeba or related genera, having no definite form and consisting of a mass of protoplasm containing one or more nuclei surrounded by a flexible outer membrane. Amoebas move by means of pseudopods.


  1. Another spelling of amoeba.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

amoebae in Culture



An animal composed of only one cell that has no fixed shape. It is the best known of the single-celled animals, or protozoa.


The term amoeba is sometimes used to refer to something with an indefinite, changeable shape.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
  • About
  • Cookies, Terms, & Privacy
© 2018 Dictionary.com, LLC.