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 mi·cro·scop·i·cal.

Origin of microscopic

First recorded in 1670–80; microscope + -ic
Related formsmi·cro·scop·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·mi·cro·scop·ic, adjectivenon·mi·cro·scop·i·cal, adjectivenon·mi·cro·scop·i·cal·ly, adverbun·mi·cro·scop·ic, adjectiveun·mi·cro·scop·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for microscopic

Contemporary Examples of microscopic

Historical Examples of microscopic

  • 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.

  • 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


less commonly microscopical


not large enough to be seen with the naked eye but visible under a microscopeCompare macroscopic
very small; minute
of, concerned with, or using a microscope
characterized by or done with great attention to detail
Derived Formsmicroscopically, 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

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

microscopic in Medicine




Too small to be seen by the unaided eye but large enough to be studied under a microscope.
Of, relating to, or concerned with a microscope.
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.