1. Botany. gemma.
  2. Zoology. an asexually produced mass of cells that is capable of developing into an animal, as a freshwater sponge.
  3. Evolution. one of the hypothetical living units conceived by Darwin in the theory of pangenesis as the bearers of the hereditary attributes.

Origin of gemmule

1835–45; < French < Latin gemmula. See gemma, -ule Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gemmule

Historical Examples of gemmule

British Dictionary definitions for gemmule


  1. zoology a cell or mass of cells produced asexually by sponges and developing into a new individual; bud
  2. botany a small gemma
  3. a small hereditary particle postulated by Darwin in his theory of pangenesis

Word Origin for gemmule

C19: from French, from Latin gemmula a little bud; see gem
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

gemmule in Medicine


  1. The small bud that projects from the parent cell during gemmation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

gemmule in Science


  1. A small gemma or similar structure, especially a reproductive structure in some sponges that remains dormant through the winter and later develops into a new individual.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.