[ fawr-uh-min-uh-fer, for- ]
/ ˌfɔr əˈmɪn ə fər, ˌfɒr- /

noun, plural for·a·min·i·fers, fo·ram·i·nif·er·a [fuh-ram-uh-nif-er-uh] /fəˌræm əˈnɪf ər ə/.

any chiefly marine protozoan of the sarcodinian order Foraminifera, typically having a linear, spiral, or concentric shell perforated by small holes or pores through which pseudopodia extend.

Origin of foraminifer

1835–45; < New Latin Foraminifera, equivalent to Latin forāmin-, stem of forāmen foramen + -ifera; see -i-, -fer
Also called fo·ram·i·nif·er·an [fuh-ram-uh-nif-er-uh n] /fəˌræm əˈnɪf ər ən/, foram.

OTHER WORDS FROM foraminifer

fo·ram·i·nif·er·al, fo·ram·i·nif·er·ous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for foraminiferan

/ (ˌfɒrəˈmɪnɪfə) /


any marine protozoan of the phylum Foraminifera, having a shell with numerous openings through which cytoplasmic processes protrudeOften shortened to: foram See also globigerina, nummulite

Derived forms of foraminifer

foraminiferal (fɒˌræmɪˈnɪfərəl) or foraminiferous, adjective

Word Origin for foraminifer

C19: from New Latin, from foramen + -fer
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

Scientific definitions for foraminiferan

[ fə-răm′ə-nĭfər-ən ]

Any of various chiefly marine protozoans of the order Foraminiferida or Foraminifera, having a body enclosed by a shell called a test and making up an important constituent of plankton. Perforations in a foraminiferan's test allow the protrusion of numerous long extensions (pseudopods), which form a net used to trap food. The tests of foraminiferans grow throughout the organism's life, and can exceed 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. The tests of dead organisms form ooze found on the ocean floor. Extinct foraminiferans are important index fossils.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.