microcosm

[mahy-kruh-koz-uhm]
noun
1.
a little world; a world in miniature (opposed to macrocosm ).
2.
anything that is regarded as a world in miniature.
3.
human beings, humanity, society, or the like, viewed as an epitome or miniature of the world or universe.
Also called microcosmos [mahy-kruh-koz-muhs, -mohs] .


Origin:
1150–1200; Middle English microcosme < Medieval Latin mīcrocosmus < Greek mīkròs kósmos small world. See micro-, cosmos

microcosmic, microcosmical, adjective
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World English Dictionary
microcosm or microcosmos (ˈmaɪkrəʊˌkɒzəm, ˌmaɪkrəʊˈkɒzmɒs)
 
n
1.  a miniature representation of something, esp a unit, group, or place regarded as a copy of a larger one
2.  man regarded as epitomizing the universe
 
[C15: via Medieval Latin from Greek mikros kosmos little world]
 
microcosmos or microcosmos
 
n
 
[C15: via Medieval Latin from Greek mikros kosmos little world]
 
micro'cosmic or microcosmos
 
adj
 
micro'cosmical or microcosmos
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

microcosm
1426, "human nature, man viewed as the epitome of creation," lit. "miniature world," from M.Fr. microcosme, from M.L. microcosmus, from Gk. mikros "small" + kosmos "world" (see cosmos). General sense of "a community constituting a world unto itself" is attested from 1526.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

microcosm definition


A representation of something on a much smaller scale. Microcosm means “small world,” and in the thought of the Renaissance, it was applied specifically to human beings, who were considered to be small-scale models of the universe, with all its variety and contradiction. (Compare macrocosm.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

microcosm

(from Greek mikros kosmos, "little world"), a Western philosophical term designating man as being a "little world" in which the macrocosm, or universe, is reflected. The ancient Greek idea of a world soul (e.g., in Plato) animating the universe had as a corollary the idea of the human body as a miniature universe animated by its own soul. The notion of the microcosm dates, in Western philosophy, from Socratic times (Democritus specifically referred to it)-i.e., from the 5th century BC. Propagated especially by the Neoplatonists, the idea passed to the Gnostics, to the Christian scholastics, to the Jewish Kabbalists, and to such Renaissance philosophers as Paracelsus. The supposed analogy between the whole and its parts served not only to develop a cosmology in which the reality of the individual received due attention but was also fundamental to astrology and other fields in which belief in a metaphysical relationship between man and the rest of nature is postulated. In later philosophy the monadology of G.W. Leibniz presented a comparable view of man and the universe; and, in the 19th century, Rudolf Lotze chose Mikrokosmus as the title of his major work on the theory of knowledge and reality.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
India is a microcosm representative of the whole world in its diversity.
Evolution of a newborn into an adult is a microcosm of evolving into something
  different.
It's just a very rich little microcosm here.
Fraternities are a microcosm of society.
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