variant of cosmo- before a vowel: cosmism.



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Definition for cosm- (2 of 2)


variant of cosmo- as final element of a compound word: microcosm. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does cosm- mean?

Cosm- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “world” or “universe.” In some cases, it represents “outer space.”

Cosm- comes from the Greek kósmos, variously meaning “order, good order, government, world order, the universe.” The Greek kósmos is ultimately the source of the English words cosmos, cosmic, cosmopolitan, and cosmetics, among others. What does makeup have to do with the universe? Find out at our entry for the word.

Cosm- is a variant of cosmo-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. And when used as the final element of a compound word, cosmo- becomes -cosm, as is microcosm.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use cosmo- article.

Examples of cosm-

An example of a word that features cosm- is cosmism, which is a philosophy of cosmic evolution, especially associated with the 19th century American philosopher and historian John Fiske, who was greatly influenced by Charles Darwin’s theories.

Cosm-, as we’ve seen, refers to the universe, and -ism can variously denote a “doctrine,” “theory,” “system,” or “practice.” Cosmism, if we reduce it to its parts, is simply “universe theory.”

What are some words related to cosm- and its Greek root, kósmos ?

What are some other forms that cosm- may be commonly confused with?

Similar to cosmo- is the combining form astro- (think astronaut). Learn more in our Words That Use astro- article.

Break it down!

Based on the name alone, where do cosmic rays come from?