• synonyms


  1. so small as to be invisible or indistinct without the use of the microscope: microscopic organisms.Compare macroscopic.
  2. very small; tiny.
  3. of, relating to, or involving a microscope: microscopic investigation.
  4. very detailed; meticulous: a microscopic view of society.
  5. suggestive of the precise use of the microscope; minute: microscopic exactness.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for microscopical

Historical Examples

  • After some time the result of this microscopical work appears.

    The Industries of Animals

    Frdric Houssay

  • No microscopical alterations in the corpuscles are to be observed.

  • Microscopical technique also had been greatly improved since 1828.

    Form and Function

    E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

  • The object or material to be examined is placed on a microscopical slide.

  • In all cases identify the particles that sink by microscopical examination.

    All About Coffee

    William H. Ukers

British Dictionary definitions for microscopical


less commonly microscopical

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



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

microscopical in Medicine


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