• synonyms


[par-uh-mee-shee-uh m, -shuh m, -see-uh m]
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noun, plural par·a·me·ci·a [par-uh-mee-shee-uh, -shuh, -see-uh] /ˌpær əˈmi ʃi ə, -ʃə, -si ə/.
  1. any ciliated freshwater protozoan of the genus Paramecium, having an oval body and a long, deep oral groove.
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Origin of paramecium

1745–55; < New Latin < Greek paramḗk(ēs) oblong, oval + New Latin -ium noun suffix; see -ium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for paramecium

cell, flagellate, organism, plasmodium, ameba, euglena, paramecium, ciliate, amoeba, sporozoan, stentor

Examples from the Web for paramecium

Historical Examples of paramecium

  • The Paramecium are propagated by spontaneous division, as already described.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

  • Jennings found a number of races of paramecium of different sizes living under natural conditions.

  • Swimming vigorously in the water, they devote themselves to chasing the Paramecium.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

  • The neurone, however, is a little unicellular animal, like the amoeba or the paramecium.

British Dictionary definitions for paramecium


noun plural -cia (-sɪə)
  1. any freshwater protozoan of the genus Paramecium, having an oval body covered with cilia and a ventral ciliated groove for feeding: phylum Ciliophora (ciliates)
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Word Origin for paramecium

C18: New Latin, from Greek paramēkēs elongated, from para- 1 + mēkos length
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 paramecium


1752, Modern Latin Paramecium, the genus name, coined from Greek paramekes "oblong, oval," from para- "on one side" (see para- (1)) + mekos "length," related to makros "long" (see macro-).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

paramecium in Medicine


(păr′ə-mēshē-əm, -sē-əm)
  1. A genus of freshwater ciliate protozoans, characteristically slipper-shaped and covered with cilia, and commonly used for genetic research and other studies.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

paramecium in Science


Plural paramecia parameciums
  1. Any of various freshwater protozoans of the genus Paramecium that are usually oval in shape and that move by means of cilia. Although they consist of a single cell, paramecia are large enough to be visible to the naked eye. Like other ciliates, paramecia contain two nuclei, a macronucleus and a micronucleus. On the cellular surface is a groove that opens into a gullet, into which food particles are absorbed.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.