Definition of amoeba in English:


(US ameba)

nounamoebas, amoebae

  • A single-celled animal that catches food and moves about by extending fingerlike projections of protoplasm. Amoebas are either free-living in damp environments or parasitic.

    Many families and genera in the phylum Rhizopoda, kingdom Protista, including the aquatic Amoeba proteus

    • ‘Pheromones are widespread in the animal world, from the single-celled amoeba to human beings.’
    • ‘Contact with protozoa, the tremendously varied group of more sophisticated single-celled microbes that includes amoeba and paramecium, has also been greatly reduced in the developed world by water and food treatment measures.’
    • ‘The virus lives in single-celled organisms called amoebae and may be able to infect humans.’
    • ‘To put this time span in perspective, two billion years ago our ancestors were microscopic single-celled amoebas.’
    • ‘It must have a flexible structure that can expand and change, in much the same way that an amoeba adapts to its environment.’


Mid 19th century modern Latin, from Greek amoibē ‘change, alternation’.