Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[mahy-kruh-koz-uh m] /ˈmaɪ krəˌkɒz əm/
a little world; a world in miniature (opposed to macrocosm).
anything that is regarded as a world in miniature.
human beings, humanity, society, or the like, viewed as an epitome or miniature of the world or universe.
Also called microcosmos
[mahy-kruh-koz-muh s, -mohs] /ˌmaɪ krəˈkɒz məs, -moʊs/ (Show IPA)
Origin of microcosm
1150-1200; Middle English microcosme < Medieval Latin mīcrocosmus < Greek mīkròs kósmos small world. See micro-, cosmos
Related forms
microcosmic, microcosmical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for microcosm
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If we look at the microcosm of our own person we find this principle exactly reproduced.

    The Hidden Power Thomas Troward
  • But I perceive now that my thought was a seed containing my omniscience in microcosm.

    Fantazius Mallare Ben Hecht
  • Sutter walked forward slowly, aware in a vague way that he had entered another plane that was at once a microcosm and a macrocosm.

    Made in Tanganyika Carl Richard Jacobi
  • Here they established a boy periodical, called the "microcosm."

    The Printer Boy. William M. Thayer
  • Maimonides knew Joseph ibn Zaddik favorably, but he was not familiar with the "microcosm."

British Dictionary definitions for microcosm


a miniature representation of something, esp a unit, group, or place regarded as a copy of a larger one
man regarded as epitomizing the universe
Compare macrocosm
Derived Forms
microcosmic, microcosmical, adjective
Word Origin
C15: via Medieval Latin from Greek mikros kosmos little world
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for microcosm

c.1200, mycrocossmos (modern form from early 15c.), "human nature, man viewed as the epitome of creation," literally "miniature world," from Middle French microcosme and in earliest use directly from Medieval Latin microcosmus, from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + kosmos "world" (see cosmos). General sense of "a community constituting a world unto itself" is attested from 1560s. Related: Microcosmic. A native expression in the same sense was petty world (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
microcosm in Culture

microcosm definition

A representation of something on a much smaller scale. Microcosm means “small world,” and in the thought of the Renaissance, it was applied specifically to human beings, who were considered to be small-scale models of the universe, with all its variety and contradiction. (Compare macrocosm.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for microcosm

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for microcosm

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for microcosm