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Related to animalcule: sun animalcule


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]


(ăn′ə-măl′kyo͞ol) also


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.


An obsolete, nonspecific term for:
(1) Any microscopic organism; 
(2) Any “core” organism of the now-discarded preformation theory.
References in periodicals archive ?
When van Leeuwenhoek's animalcules are pathogenic, each meal becomes a gamble.
Steele's rhetorically pronounced awe of nature reveals itself to be merely obligatory; his invective against "insects, reptiles, and animalcules," continues a literary trope of devalued small "natural" (as opposed to commodified) objects.
A medical student, Johan Ham, was the first to see animalcules (spermatozoa) in human semen, and he drew this to Leeuwenhoek's attention.
Leeuwenhoek tried ingenious ways to estimate the size of his animalcules.
Leaves by themselves seem to be animalcules, shell-like in the ginkgo leaf, flame-like in the maple, given a gliding shape in the chestnut leaf, a sharp, quick one in the pine needle.
Louis Pasteur was studying what these little animalcules were running around under his microscope.
He called them animalcules, but we call them microorganisms.
I examined it, and perceived some of the Animalcules lying closely heaped together.
His Majesty, founder and patron of the Royal Society, has not issued a direct comment but, according to Hooke, is desirous of observing the animalcules for himself.