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

Related Stories The first phase of Baylands North will be a microcosm of what can be expected for the whole development, Vilkin said. J.k. Dineen, SFChronicle.com, "New vision for two megaprojects: One development of almost 4,000 homes across SF and San Mateo counties," 16 Sep. 2019 In fact, he's made a negative impact; an own goal against Liverpool being a microcosm of his poor performances. SI.com, "Burnley Premier League Month in Review: August - Best Player, Worst Performance & Overall Rating," 8 Sep. 2019 The ongoing carriage dispute between Altitude Sports and its big three distributors – Comcast, DIRECTV and DISH – is a microcosm of the problems plaguing regional sports networks across the country. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Altitude Sports “exploring” Amazon option to break logjam with TV distributors," 7 Sep. 2019 Wednesday's hearings were a microcosm of the investigation that has been Washington's central political drama since the start of Trump's presidency. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "What we learned from Robert Mueller: Seven hours, zero bombshells and everyone declares victory," 24 July 2019 Mastodon’s conundrum is a microcosm of a much larger conflict online. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "How the biggest decentralized social network is dealing with its Nazi problem," 12 July 2019 The protests in Birmingham are a microcosm of what could soon turn into a country-wide problem. Tara John, CNN, "Primary school lessons about LGBTQ rights spark months of protests in Britain's second city," 2 July 2019 In cities nationwide, public markets have become microcosms of the community at large — must-visit destinations for both locals and tourists in search of a unique fare. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "'It's huge': Logan Street Market will be the epicenter of local food in Louisville," 5 June 2019 The school’s football players act as a microcosm for the town. Rusty Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "Paradise High returns to the football field, providing a devastated town with hope," 22 Aug. 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

7 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for microcosm

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

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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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Comments on microcosm

What made you want to look up microcosm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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