mi·​cro·​scop·​ic | \ ˌmī-krə-ˈskä-pik How to pronounce microscopic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly microscopical \ ˌmī-​krə-​ˈskä-​pi-​kəl How to pronounce microscopical (audio) \

Definition of microscopic

1 : resembling a microscope especially in perception
2a : invisible or indistinguishable without the use of a microscope
b : very small or fine or precise
3 : of, relating to, or conducted with the microscope or microscopy

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Other Words from microscopic

microscopically \ ˌmī-​krə-​ˈskä-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce microscopically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of microscopic in a Sentence

At this point, the embryo is a microscopic clump of only 100 cells. There is a microscopic crack in the diamond. He has a microscopic attention span. He recorded every aspect of his trip in microscopic detail. a microscopic study of plant tissues
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Recent Examples on the Web These changes are numerous and frequent but typically microscopic – less than one hundredth of the width of a human hair. Ari Berkowitz, The Conversation, "Brain scientists haven’t been able to find major differences between women’s and men’s brains, despite over a century of searching," 6 Aug. 2020 Plastic takes decades to degrade and microscopic particles have been found inside the bodies of fish, birds and other animals. USA TODAY, "Germany is banning single-use plastic straws, cotton buds and food containers," 31 July 2020 Even humid regular air carries an amount of moisture in the form of microscopic droplets, but while air molecules pass easily through a cloth barrier, water droplets are more likely to get snagged. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Does Speaking English Spread Coronavirus Quicker?," 11 June 2020 Look for almost microscopic, rusty-red specks to start moving briskly on the paper. Neil Sperry, ExpressNews.com, "Neil Sperry: How to help peach tree attacked by borers," 9 July 2020 The microscopic dust spewed into the air from power plants, tail pipes and wildfires is an invisible killer. Isabelle Chapman And Drew Kann, CNN, "For some environmentalists, 'I can't breathe' is about more than police brutality," 27 June 2020 Here, one arrow can flip another, distant arrow, despite their not being neighbors — an indication that the system’s macroscopic properties have detached from its microscopic details. Quanta Magazine, "The Cartoon Picture of Magnets That Has Transformed Science," 24 June 2020 In a July 7 post on Facebook, David D. Smith questioned why COVID-19 tests do not swab the mouth — noting that the virus is spread in microscopic saliva particles and that that cheek swabs are often used for other tests, like DNA tests. Camille Caldera, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Though nasal test for COVID-19 swabs deep into the nose, nothing is implanted," 12 July 2020 Shorewood resident Slava Strogolov opposed the mask requirement, saying most masks are not entirely effective at stopping microscopic coronavirus droplets. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shorewood is requiring face masks inside buildings open to the public, the first Milwaukee area community to pass this mandate," 10 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'microscopic.' 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 microscopic

circa 1672, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for microscopic

Time Traveler

The first known use of microscopic was circa 1672

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Statistics for microscopic

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Microscopic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microscopic. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce microscopic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of microscopic

: able to be seen only through a microscope : extremely small
: much smaller than what is usual, normal, or expected
: done with a microscope


mi·​cro·​scop·​ic | \ ˌmī-krə-ˈskä-pik How to pronounce microscopic (audio) \

Kids Definition of microscopic

1 : of, relating to, or conducted with the microscope a microscopic examination
2 : so small as to be visible only through a microscope : very tiny a microscopic crack

Other Words from microscopic

microscopically \ -​pi-​kə-​lē \ adverb


mi·​cro·​scop·​ic | \ ˌmī-krə-ˈskäp-ik How to pronounce microscopic (audio) \
variants: or microscopical \ -​i-​kəl How to pronounce microscopical (audio) \

Medical Definition of microscopic

1 : of, relating to, or conducted with the microscope or microscopy
2 : so small or fine as to be invisible or indistinguishable without the use of a microscope — compare macroscopic, submicroscopic, ultramicroscopic sense 1

Other Words from microscopic

microscopically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce microscopically (audio) \ adverb

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