microcosm

noun
mi·​cro·​cosm | \ ˈmī-krə-ˌkä-zəm How to pronounce microcosm (audio) \

Definition of microcosm

1 : a little world especially : the human race or human nature seen as an epitome (see epitome sense 1) of the world or the universe
2 : a community or other unity that is an epitome (see epitome sense 2) of a larger unity The suburb has been the microcosm of the city.
in microcosm
: in a greatly diminished size, form, or scale

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Other Words from microcosm

microcosmic \ ˌmī-​krə-​ˈkäz-​mik How to pronounce microcosmic (audio) \ adjective
microcosmically \ ˌmī-​krə-​ˈkäz-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce microcosmically (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

A microcosm is a "little world" - "mikros kosmos" in Greek. The Greek term was modified to "microcosmus" in Medieval Latin. When early medieval scholars referred to humans as miniature embodiments of the natural universe, they either employed the Latin word microcosmus or they used the English translation, "less world." "Man is callyd the lasse worlde, for he shewyth in hymselfe lyknesse of all the worlde," wrote John Trevisa when he translated the Latin text of Bartholomaeus Anglicus’ encyclopedia in the 14th century. But by the 15th century scholars had adopted an anglicized version of the Latin word, the word we use today - "microcosm."

Examples of microcosm in a Sentence

The village is a microcosm of the whole country. The game was a microcosm of the entire season.

Recent Examples on the Web

The lollipop loop itself is a microcosm of all the park has to offer with marshes, ponds, swamps and black oak savannas, eventually snaking steeply up wooded dunes to a blockbuster panorama. Michael Schroeder, Washington Post, "Visiting the nation’s newest national park: Indiana Dunes," 7 June 2019 Cousins’ Game 3 was a microcosm of his regular season. Matt Schneidman, The Mercury News, "Unpredictability of Warriors’ centers might be cause for concern," 5 June 2019 This opening level is, in microcosm, the entire Hitman 2 experience. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Hitman 2 review: Accessible stealth oozing with style," 16 Nov. 2018 What’s happening in Austin is a microcosm of the nationwide effort to let entrepreneurs and military meet face-to-face. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Disrupting the Pentagon: Can the Air Force Learn To Love Startup Culture?," 12 Apr. 2019 Come show season, plebeian spots like JFK and Charles de Gaulle become microcosms full of models, Hollywood personalities, and editors in looks that are nap-ready yet obviously super chic. Vogue, "5 Airport Style Lessons From Fashion Month’s Off-Duty Stars," 12 Mar. 2019 As the historical big picture takes shape, the narrative returns frequently to the microcosm of the train station. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "'Detroit: Comeback City' documentary is personal, and that's a good thing," 1 July 2018 The girls also provide a handy window to the world the series is set in, and director Saverio Costanzo (who helms all eight episodes) turns the little plaza the girls’ shabby apartment buildings surround into a microcosm of the world at large. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "HBO’s My Brilliant Friend adaptation is a knockout," 18 Nov. 2018 Long seen as a microcosm of Nigeria, the region of six million people is divided between a Christian south and Muslim north, separated by a river. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Nigeria Braces for Climax of Rancorous Presidential Showdown," 15 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'microcosm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of microcosm

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for microcosm

Middle English, from Medieval Latin microcosmus, modification of Greek mikros kosmos

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Statistics for microcosm

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for microcosm

The first known use of microcosm was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for microcosm

microcosm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of microcosm

: something (such as a place or an event) that is seen as a small version of something much larger

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