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[par-uh-mee-shee-uh m, -shuh m, -see-uh m] /ˌpær əˈmi ʃi əm, -ʃəm, -si əm/
noun, plural paramecia
[par-uh-mee-shee-uh, -shuh, -see-uh] /ˌpær əˈmi ʃi ə, -ʃə, -si ə/ (Show IPA)
any ciliated freshwater protozoan of the genus Paramecium, having an oval body and a long, deep oral groove.
Origin of paramecium
1745-55; < New Latin < Greek paramḗk(ēs) oblong, oval + New Latin -ium noun suffix; see -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for paramecia
Historical Examples
  • In one bottle, containing decaying chara, paramecia abounded.

    Marvels of Pond-life Henry J. Slack
  • This was known as conjugation, and is seen among paramecia and some other species to-day.

    Taboo and Genetics

    Melvin Moses Knight, Iva Lowther Peters, and Phyllis Mary Blanchard
  • The viability of paramecia and euglenae in the digestive tract of cockroaches.

  • He couldn't remember clearly he was so tired—the rock basin had been literally swarming with paramecia and other forms of life.

    The Blue Ghost Mystery Harold Leland Goodwin
  • The paramecia, of which there are various species, have always been favourite objects with microscopists.

    Marvels of Pond-life Henry J. Slack
British Dictionary definitions for paramecia


noun (pl) -cia (-sɪə)
any freshwater protozoan of the genus Paramecium, having an oval body covered with cilia and a ventral ciliated groove for feeding: phylum Ciliophora (ciliates)
Word Origin
C18: New Latin, from Greek paramēkēs elongated, from para-1 + mēkos length
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
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Word Origin and History for paramecia



1752, Modern Latin Paramecium, the genus name, coined from Greek paramekes "oblong, oval," from para- "on one side" (see para- (1)) + mekos "length," related to makros "long" (see macro-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paramecia in Medicine

Paramecium Par·a·me·ci·um (pār'ə-mē'shē-əm, -sē-əm)
A genus of freshwater ciliate protozoans, characteristically slipper-shaped and covered with cilia, and commonly used for genetic research and other studies.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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paramecia in Science
Plural paramecia or parameciums
Any of various freshwater protozoans of the genus Paramecium that are usually oval in shape and that move by means of cilia. Although they consist of a single cell, paramecia are large enough to be visible to the naked eye. Like other ciliates, paramecia contain two nuclei, a macronucleus and a micronucleus. On the cellular surface is a groove that opens into a gullet, into which food particles are absorbed.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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