[ mahy-kruh-skohp ]

  1. an optical instrument having a magnifying lens or a combination of lenses for inspecting objects too small to be seen or too small to be seen distinctly and in detail by the unaided eye.

  2. Microscope, Astronomy. the constellation Microscopium.

Origin of microscope

First recorded in 1650–60; from New Latin mīcroscopium; see micro-, -scope

Words Nearby microscope

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use microscope in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for microscope


/ (ˈmaɪkrəˌskəʊp) /

  1. an optical instrument that uses a lens or combination of lenses to produce a magnified image of a small, close object. Modern optical microscopes have magnifications of about 1500 to 2000: See also simple microscope, compound microscope, ultramicroscope

  2. any instrument, such as the electron microscope, for producing a magnified visual image of a small object

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

Scientific definitions for microscope


[ krə-skōp′ ]

  1. Any of various instruments used to magnify small objects that are difficult or impossible to observe the naked eye.Optical microscopes use light reflected from or passed through the sample being observed to form a magnified image of the object, refracting the light with an arrangement of lenses and mirrors similar to those found in telescopes. See also atomic force microscope electron microscope field ion microscope.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for microscope


A device that produces a magnified image of objects too small to be seen with the naked eye. Such objects are thus called “microscopic.” The microscope is widely used in medicine and biology. Common microscopes use lenses; others, such as electron microscopes, scan an object with electrons, x-rays, and other radiation besides ordinary visible light.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.