[ huh-muhng-kyuh-luh s, hoh- ]
/ həˈmʌŋ kyə ləs, hoʊ- /

noun, plural ho·mun·cu·li [huh-muhng-kyuh-lahy, hoh-] /həˈmʌŋ kyəˌlaɪ, hoʊ-/.

an artificially made dwarf, supposedly produced in a flask by an alchemist.
a fully formed, miniature human body believed, according to some medical theories of the 16th and 17th centuries, to be contained in the spermatozoon.
a diminutive human being.
the human fetus.

Origin of homunculus

1650–60; < Latin, equivalent to homun- (variant of homin-, stem of homō man; see Homo) + -culus -cule1

Related forms

ho·mun·cu·lar, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for homunculus

British Dictionary definitions for homunculus


/ (hɒˈmʌŋkjʊləs) /

noun plural -li (-ˌlaɪ)

a miniature man; midget
(in early biological theory) a fully-formed miniature human being existing in a spermatozoon or egg
Former name: homuncule (həʊˈmʌŋkjuːl)

Derived Forms

homuncular, adjective

Word Origin for homunculus

C17: from Latin, diminutive of homo man
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

Medicine definitions for homunculus


[ hō-mŭngkyə-ləs, hə- ]

n. pl. ho•mun•cu•li (-lī′)

A diminutive human.
A miniature, fully formed individual which adherents of the early biological theory of preformation believed to be present in the sperm cell.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.