Part of speech: noun
Origin: Latin, late 16th century
A microscopic animal.
Examples of Animalcule in a sentence
"You'll have to use the microscope to see this animalcule."
"The discovery of the new animalcule was cause for celebration."
Popularity Over Time
Don’t focus on the “animal” part of this word. “Cule” is what really matters, and it means tiny. The earliest microbiologists studied what they called animalcules under microscopes. Today they’re more likely called microbes.
Did you Know?
In the late 1600s, scientists began to use microscopes to examine the minute creatures present in water. Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek called them “dierken,” which was translated into English as animalcule, or tiny animal. This term was eventually replaced by microbes around the late 1800s.