• 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 microscopically

Historical Examples

  • They were tireless and microscopically thorough in the search.

    The Wolf Cub

    Patrick Casey

  • The surface of the wing is covered with microscopically minute hairs.

  • Now the events rushed upon him, few in number, but clearly, microscopically outlined.

    The Incendiary

    W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy

  • (e) The poisonous portions are not distinguishable from the nonpoisonous, either macroscopically or microscopically.

  • Microscopically the process is found to be a subacute inflammation of the media, which has been called a mesaortitis.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension:

    Louis Marshall Warfield

British Dictionary definitions for microscopically


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 microscopically



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

microscopically 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.