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[mahy-kroh-suh-fal-ik] /ˌmaɪ kroʊ səˈfæl ɪk/
adjective, Cephalometry, Pathology
having a head with a small braincase.
Also, microcephalous
[mahy-kroh-sef-uh-luh s] /ˌmaɪ kroʊˈsɛf ə ləs/ (Show IPA)
1855-60; < New Latin microcephalicus. See micro-, cephalic
Related forms
microcephaly, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for microcephaly
  • When these genes malfunction, the result is a condition called primary microcephaly, in which brain size is severely diminished.
  • Consider microcephaly, an autosomal recessive disease.
British Dictionary definitions for microcephaly


the condition of having an abnormally small head or cranial capacity Compare megacephaly
Derived Forms
microcephalic (ˌmaɪkrəʊsɪˈfælɪk) adjective, noun
microcephalous, adjective
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
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Word Origin and History for microcephaly



"small-headed," 1845, from French microcéphalique, from Modern Latin microcephalus, from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + kephale "head" (see cephalo-). Related: Microcephalism; microcephalous (1840); microcephaly (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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microcephaly in Medicine

microcephaly mi·cro·ceph·a·ly (mī'krō-sěf'ə-lē)
Abnormal smallness of the head. Also called nanocephaly.

mi'cro·ce·phal'ic (-sə-fāl'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for microcephaly

condition of abnormal smallness of the head. Microcephalic individuals are usually severely retarded both mentally and developmentally. Primary microcephaly results when the brain itself is abnormally small (microencephaly), so that there is no stimulus for the vault to grow. It also occurs when all the cranial sutures fuse prematurely, precluding brain growth. Irradiation of the abdomen in pregnant women or maternal (and via the placenta, fetal) infection with German measles or toxoplasmosis during the first three months of pregnancy may sometimes produce a microcephalic child. Microcephaly of greater or lesser degree also accompanies various genetic syndromes such as Hurler's syndrome and some chromosomal disorders.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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