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[mahy-kruh-skop-ik] /ˌmaɪ krəˈskɒp ɪk/
so small as to be invisible or indistinct without the use of the microscope:
microscopic organisms.
Compare macroscopic.
very small; tiny.
of, relating to, or involving a microscope:
microscopic investigation.
very detailed; meticulous:
a microscopic view of society.
suggestive of the precise use of the microscope; minute:
microscopic exactness.
Also, microscopical.
Origin of microscopic
1670-80; microscope + -ic
Related forms
microscopically, adverb
nonmicroscopic, adjective
nonmicroscopical, adjective
nonmicroscopically, adverb
unmicroscopic, adjective
unmicroscopically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for microscopic
  • Even tiny barnacles take in microscopic fragments of the stuff, which then move up the food chain, with unknown consequences.
  • There, they feed on plankton and other microscopic fare pulled in through tiny pores.
  • The new regions appear as tiny, microscopic bubbles and immediately start to grow.
  • These topics are only a microscopic sampling of what political scientists today study.
  • Two-eyed stereoscopic viewers pop microscopic beasties into three dimensions.
  • microscopic plumbing system fuses engineered proteins into silk.
  • It is foolish for something so microscopic to go around posing as a state.
  • They also examined samples of the concrete for microscopic cracks and to see which minerals had formed.
  • The cloaks are also capable of hiding only microscopic objects.
  • It contains several hundred thousand microscopic mirrors arranged in a rectangular array.
British Dictionary definitions for microscopic


not large enough to be seen with the naked eye but visible under a microscope Compare macroscopic
very small; minute
of, concerned with, or using a microscope
characterized by or done with great attention to detail
Derived Forms
microscopically, 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
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Word Origin and History for microscopic

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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microscopic in Medicine

microscopic mi·cro·scop·ic (mī'krə-skŏp'ĭk) or mi·cro·scop·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)

  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.

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