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  1. very large in scale, scope, or capability.
  2. of or relating to macroeconomics.
noun, plural mac·ros.
  1. anything very large in scale, scope, or capability.
  2. Photography. a macro lens.
  3. Also called macroinstruction. Computers. an instruction that represents a sequence of instructions in abbreviated form.
  4. macroeconomics.

Origin of macro

independent use of macro-, taken as an adjective, or by shortening of words with macro- as initial element


  1. a combining form meaning “large,” “long,” “great,” “excessive,” used in the formation of compound words, contrasting with micro-: macrocosm; macrofossil; macrograph; macroscopic.
Also especially before a vowel, macr-.

Origin of macro-

< Greek makro-, combining form of makrós long; cognate with Latin macer lean; see meager
Can be confusedmacro- micro-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for macro


noun plural macros
  1. a macro lens
  2. Also: macro instruction a single computer instruction that initiates a set of instructions to perform a specific task


before a vowel macr-

combining form
  1. large, long, or great in size or durationmacroscopic
  2. (in pathology) indicating abnormal enlargement or overdevelopmentmacrocyte Compare micro- (def. 5)
  3. producing larger than life imagesmacrophotography

Word Origin

from Greek makros large; compare Latin macer meagre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for macro


1959 in computing sense, shortened from macro-instruction.


word-forming element meaning "long, abnormally large, on a large scale," taken into English via Middle French and Medieval Latin from Greek makros "long, large," from PIE root *mak- "long, thin" (cf. Latin macer "lean, thin;" Old Norse magr, Old English mæger "lean, thin;" Greek mekos "length").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

macro in Medicine


  1. Large:macronucleus.
  2. Long:macrobiotic.
  3. Inclusive:macroamylase.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

macro in Science


  1. A prefix meaning “large,” as in macromolecule, a large molecule.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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