Origin of -cule1
Words nearby -cule
Other definitions for -cule (2 of 2)
Origin of -cule2
WORDS THAT USE -CULE
What does -cule mean?
The suffix -cule has two distinct senses.
The first of these senses is to denote a diminutive noun, meaning to indicate something small in size or importance. It is also used in other French loanwords from Latin. This form of -cule is occasionally used in a variety of everyday and technical terms. The suffix -cule comes from the Latin endings -culus (masculine), -cula (feminine), and -culum (neuter), which originally designated diminutive nouns.
The second of these senses is in words borrowed from Latin where it formed verb nouns that denoted a place appropriate to the action of the verb or means by which the action is performed. This form of -cule is used very rarely in everyday and technical terms. The suffix -cule comes from Latin -cula and -culum by way of French or Old French.
What are variants of -cule?
A variant of -cule in both senses of the suffix is -cle, as in article or vehicle. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use article on -cle.
Examples of -cule with the sense "diminutive noun"
A word you may be familiar with that features the suffix -cule is molecule, “the smallest physical unit of an element or compound.”
The mole- part of the word means “mass,” from Latin mōlē(s). The suffix -cule here means “small.” Molecule literally translates to “small mass.”
What are some words that use the combining form -cule?
- animalcule (using the equivalent form of -cule in Latin)
What are some other forms that -cule may be commonly confused with?
Break it down!
Given the meaning of the suffix -cule, what does animalcule literally mean?
How to use -cule in a sentence
He is at liberty to deny and ridi- cule the rule of three, conic sections, and even the multiplication table.The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 5 (of 12)|Robert G. Ingersoll