animalcule

[an-uh-mal-kyool]
noun
  1. a minute or microscopic animal, nearly or quite invisible to the naked eye, as an infusorian or rotifer.
  2. Archaic. a tiny animal, as a mouse or fly.

Origin of animalcule

First recorded in 1590–1600, animalcule is from the New Latin word animalculum a small animal. See animal, -cule1
Related formsan·i·mal·cu·lar [an-uh-mal-kyuh-ler] /ˌæn əˈmæl kyə lər/, an·i·mal·cu·line [an-uh-mal-kyuh-lin] /ˌæn əˈmæl kyə lɪn/, an·i·mal·cu·lous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for animalculous

animalcule

animalculum (ˌænɪˈmælkjʊləm)

noun plural -cules or -cula (-kjʊlə)
  1. a microscopic animal such as an amoeba or rotifer
Derived Formsanimalcular, adjective

Word Origin for animalcule

C16: from New Latin animalculum a small animal
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 animalculous

animalcule

n.

"very small animal," especially a microscopic one, 1590s, from Late Latin animalculum, diminutive of Latin animal (see animal (n.)). Related: Animalcular.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper