A homunculus is a "little man." In the 17th century, theorists called preformationists argued that a human being begins life as a tiny, preformed person — a homunculus — encapsulated in the sperm or, as some thought, in the egg.

  • Pronunciation: / hɒ'mʌŋkjʊləs/
  • English description: a person who is very small or diminutive
  • Synonyms: manikin
  • Chinese Translation:  侏儒(zhu1 ru2)
  • Spanish Translation: n/a
  • ORIGIN: The preformationists were arguing against Aristotle's view that humans and other organisms begin life as unformed material that gradually takes shape, and, in the case of humans, this process includes a moment of "ensoulment" — when the embryo gets a soul and becomes fully human. A homunculus can also be a "little man" of any sort. You can describe your Ken doll as a homunculus. The word is the diminutive of the Latin word homo "man."


  • Using animal-part discards from the local zoo — apparently heavy on the chimpanzee — they end up stitching together and electrifying what's best described as a homunculus.
  • They also showed a clip of the terrifying moment the homunculus comes to life.

*New word description, story and part of "EXAMPLE SENTENCE" are cited in Vocabulary


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