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microcosm

[mahy-kruh-koz-uh m] /ˈmaɪ krəˌkɒz əm/
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-muh s, -mohs] /ˌmaɪ krəˈkɒz məs, -moʊs/ (Show IPA)
.
Origin of microcosm
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English microcosme < Medieval Latin mīcrocosmus < Greek mīkròs kósmos small world. See micro-, cosmos
Related forms
microcosmic, microcosmical, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for microcosm

microcosm

/ˈmaɪkrəʊˌkɒzəm/
noun
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
Compare macrocosm
Derived Forms
microcosmic, microcosmical, adjective
Word Origin
C15: via Medieval Latin from Greek mikros kosmos little world
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 microcosm
n.

c.1200, mycrocossmos (modern form from early 15c.), "human nature, man viewed as the epitome of creation," literally "miniature world," from Middle French microcosme and in earliest use directly from Medieval Latin microcosmus, from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + kosmos "world" (see cosmos). General sense of "a community constituting a world unto itself" is attested from 1560s. Related: Microcosmic. A native expression in the same sense was petty world (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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microcosm in Culture

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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