[kawr-puh-suh l, -puhs-uh l]
See more synonyms for corpuscle on
  1. Biology. an unattached cell, especially of a kind that floats freely, as a blood or lymph cell.
  2. Anatomy. a small mass or body forming a more or less distinct part, as the sensory receptors at nerve terminals.
  3. Physical Chemistry. a minute or elementary particle of matter, as an electron, proton, or atom.
  4. any minute particle.
Also cor·pus·cule [kawr-puhs-kyool] /kɔrˈpʌs kyul/.

Origin of corpuscle

1650–60; < Latin corpusculum, equivalent to corpus body + -culum -cle1
Related formscor·pus·cu·lar [kawr-puhs-kyuh-ler] /kɔrˈpʌs kyə lər/, cor·pus·cu·lat·ed [kawr-puhs-kyuh-ley-tid] /kɔrˈpʌs kyəˌleɪ tɪd/, cor·pus·cu·lous, adjectivecor·pus·cu·lar·i·ty [kawr-puhs-kyuh-lar-i-tee] /kɔrˌpʌs kyəˈlær ɪ ti/, nounin·ter·cor·pus·cu·lar, adjectivenon·cor·pus·cu·lar, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of corpuscle

British Dictionary definitions for corpuscle


  1. any cell or similar minute body that is suspended in a fluid, esp any of the red blood corpuscles (erythrocytes) or white blood corpuscles (see leucocytes)See also erythrocyte, leucocyte
  2. anatomy the encapsulated ending of a sensory nerve
  3. physics a discrete particle such as an electron, photon, ion, or atom
  4. Also called: corpuscule (kɔːˈpʌskjuːl) any minute particle
Derived Formscorpuscular (kɔːˈpʌskjʊlə), adjective

Word Origin for corpuscle

C17: from Latin corpusculum a little body, from corpus body
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 corpuscle

1650s, "any small particle," from Latin corpusculum "a puny body; an atom, particle," diminutive of corpus "body" (see corporeal). First applied to blood cells 1845. Related: Corpuscular.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

corpuscle in Medicine


[kôrpə-səl, -pŭs′əl]
  1. An unattached body cell, such as a blood or lymph cell.
  2. A rounded, globular mass of cells, such as the pressure receptor on certain nerve endings.
Related formscor•puscu•lar (kôr-pŭskyə-lər) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

corpuscle in Science


  1. Any of various cellular or small multicellular structures in the body, especially a red or white blood cell.
  2. See particle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.