Definition of monad in English:



  • 1A single unit; the number one.

    • ‘Pollen, in monads or tetrads, is presented in the anthers, adhering to the anther by means of pollenkitt or elastoviscin until collected.’
    • ‘His most visually splintered work raises what is in part a political question: what holds these linguistic monads together?’
    • ‘Should this hoopla be considered as a whole, as an indivisible monad?’
    • ‘Pollen grains may be released as monads, tetrads or polyads.’
    • ‘Pollen grains are packaged into polyads of 32 associated monads, more than enough to fertilize the ovules of an individual flower.’
    1. 1.1Philosophy (in the philosophy of Leibniz) an indivisible and hence ultimately simple entity, such as an atom or a person.
      • ‘According to Leibniz, the world is made up of indivisible, but nevertheless complex, self-sufficient units that he called monads.’
      • ‘Engels sees this process of the endless movement of crowds as emblematic of the dissolution of humankind into a race of monads, of individuals reduced to selfish atoms in a world of atoms.’
      • ‘Thus this reality cannot be the sheer resultant of the juxtaposition of individuals who are monads, totally self-sufficient and self-referring entities, with respect to one another.’
      • ‘An artwork then, when seen as one of Leibniz's monads, is its own universe but its perspective is within the larger totality of society in which the other artworks reside and refer.’
      • ‘Now a partless, or indivisible entity does not necessarily have to be infinitesimal: souls, individual consciousnesses, and Leibnizian monads all supposedly lack parts but are surely not infinitesimal.’
    2. 1.2Biology dated A single-celled organism, especially a flagellate protozoan, or a single cell.
      • ‘We may then suppose that the ancestral form was a monad with a theca which, in some progeny, assumed the form found in the Apusozoa.’


Early 17th century: via late Latin from Greek monas, monad- ‘unit’, from monos ‘alone’.