Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday December 20, 2000
microcosm \MY-kruh-koz-uhm\ , noun:
1. A little world. Hence, man or human nature as a supposed epitome of the world or universe (compare macrocosm).
2. A smaller, representative system having analogies to a larger system.
The monarch and his followers thought of the court as a microcosm of how the kingdom ought to be, the harmonious expression of a social order centred on the monarch.
-- John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination
There is a classic Jimmy Stewart movie, Magic Town, about "Grandview," a small town in the Midwest that is a perfect statistical microcosm of the United States, a place where the citizens' opinions match perfectly with Gallup polls of the entire nation.
-- James S. Fishkin, The Voice of the People
New York saw itself as a quasi-independent political and cultural entity that was both a microcosm of and a model for the nation as a whole.
-- Robert A. M. Stern, New York 1880
Microcosm comes from Greek mikros kosmos, "small world."