One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural homunculi, Plural homuncules
1A very small human or humanoid creature.
- ‘When I finally met the man, a pinched homunculus with nervous eyes and no eyebrows, he pushed me right out of his office.’
- ‘Had Victor not abandoned his original mentors, necromancers like Paracelsus, Cornelius Agrippa, and Albertus Magnus, he might have created a harmless homunculus instead of the creature, who exacts revenge upon him.’
- ‘In ‘Portrait of a Dwarf’, the homunculus stares back implacably at the viewer, returning our gaze while apparently indifferent to the upturned, writhing nude male in a glass cage to his left.’
- ‘Yesterday afternoon I answered the doorbell and came face to face with an evil homunculus.’
- ‘I mean, some parents actually post photos of these abominable homunculi, otherwise known as babies.’
- ‘The front desk was old-school, too - a weary homunculus behind a desk, reading a newspaper, fetching your key and your messages from the slots behind him.’
- ‘The story itself tells how lawyers from a big corporation try to muscle in on the momentous invention of an obscure homunculus, Charles Lang, whereby engines could run on plain tap water.’
- ‘As grubby and alcoholic as a homunculus can be, he is also a kind, sensitive soul and a musician of some talent.’
- 1.1historical A supposed microscopic but fully formed human being from which a fetus was formerly believed to develop.
- ‘We've moved from imagining a little homunculus lurking in the sperm to one hiding in the genome.’
- ‘In the caricatured version, preformationism has usually been ridiculed as the belief that a perfect homunculus lies within each sperm or egg cell.’
- ‘Yet other preformationists believed that the sperm contained the embryo and some even claimed to be able to see a tiny human - a homunculus - in the head of each human sperm.’
- ‘There is no graphical representation - nothing like the tiny homunculus curled up in the head of a sperm which some of the earlier microscopists imagined they could see.’
Mid 17th century: from Latin, diminutive of homo, homin- ‘man’.
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