animalcule

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an·i·mal·cule

(an'i-mal'kūl),
Term used by believers in the preformation theory to designate the supposed miniature body contained in a gamete. See: homunculus.
[Mod. L. animalculum, dim. of L. animal, a living being]

animalcule

(ăn′ə-măl′kyo͞ol) also

animalculum

(-kyə-ləm)
n. pl. animal·cules also animal·cula (-kyə-lə)
A microscopic or minute organism, such as an amoeba or paramecium, usually considered to be an animal.

animalcule

An obsolete, nonspecific term for:
(1) Any microscopic organism; 
(2) Any “core” organism of the now-discarded preformation theory.