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[mahy-kruh-skop-ik] /ˌmaɪ krəˈskɒp ɪk/
so small as to be invisible or indistinct without the use of the microscope:
microscopic organisms.
Compare macroscopic.
very small; tiny.
of, relating to, or involving a microscope:
microscopic investigation.
very detailed; meticulous:
a microscopic view of society.
suggestive of the precise use of the microscope; minute:
microscopic exactness.
Also, microscopical.
Origin of microscopic
First recorded in 1670-80; microscope + -ic
Related forms
microscopically, adverb
nonmicroscopic, adjective
nonmicroscopical, adjective
nonmicroscopically, adverb
unmicroscopic, adjective
unmicroscopically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for microscopic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Ma was at least half the size of the slate, while Heman was microscopic; but, alas!

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • You have had time to examine your prize in microscopic fashion.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley
  • The microscopic test of the distribution of alkali in the blood.

    Histology of the Blood Paul Ehrlich
  • He sees human nature with an eye which is at once broad and microscopic.

    My Contemporaries In Fiction David Christie Murray
  • The entire box was filled with notes in German in a microscopic hand.

    The Forbidden Trail Honor Willsie
British Dictionary definitions for microscopic


not large enough to be seen with the naked eye but visible under a microscope Compare macroscopic
very small; minute
of, concerned with, or using a microscope
characterized by or done with great attention to detail
Derived Forms
microscopically, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for microscopic

1732, "like a microscope;" see microscope + -ic. Meaning "of minute size" is from 1760s. Related: Microscopical; microscopically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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microscopic in Medicine

microscopic mi·cro·scop·ic (mī'krə-skŏp'ĭk) or mi·cro·scop·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)

  1. Too small to be seen by the unaided eye but large enough to be studied under a microscope.

  2. Of, relating to, or concerned with a microscope.

  3. Being or characterized as exceedingly small; minute.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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