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

noun, plural homunculi
[huh-muhng-kyuh-lahy, hoh-] /həˈmʌŋ kyəˌlaɪ, hoʊ-/ (Show IPA)
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.
noun (pl) -li (-ˌlaɪ)
a miniature man; midget
(in early biological theory) a fully-formed miniature human being existing in a spermatozoon or egg

1650s, from Latin homunculus, literally “little person,” from homo (genitive hominis) “man, human being,” the Latin word that means “man, person, a human being” (technically “male human,” but in logical and scholastic writing “human being”), also “the human race, mankind,” perhaps from PIE *(dh)ghomon-, literally “earthling,” from *dhghem- “earth” (see chthonic; also cf. human). With -culus, Latin diminutive suffix. Other Latin diminutives from homo included homullus, homuncio.

homunculus ho·mun·cu·lus (hō-mŭng’kyə-ləs, hə-)
n. pl. ho·mun·cu·li (-lī’)


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