[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. foramen of vena cava,
  2. foramen spinosum,
  3. foramina,
  4. foraminal node,
  5. foraminate,
  6. foraminifera,
  7. foraminiferan,
  8. forasmuch as,
  9. forasmuchas,
  10. foray

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.

Related formsfo·ram·i·nif·er·al, fo·ram·i·nif·er·ous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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 Formsforaminiferal (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

Science 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.