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The definition of a microcosm is a small subset of a whole that is generally considered to be representative of the whole.
An example of a microcosm is a small sect of the population which is surveyed in order to get an idea of the opinions of the general population.
microcosm definition by Webster's New World
a little world; miniature universe; specif.,
man regarded as an epitome of the world a community regarded as a miniature or epitome of the world Ecol. a small ecosystem, as a pond Origin: Middle English microcosme ; from Midieval Latin microcosmus ; from Late Greek mikros kosmos, little world: see micro- and amp; cosmos Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc. microcosm definition by American Heritage Dictionary
A small, representative system having analogies to a larger system in constitution, configuration, or development:
“He sees the auto industry as a microcosm of the U.S. itself” (William J. Hampton). Origin: Middle English microcosme, man as a little world, from Old French, from Late Latin mīcrocosmus, from Greek mīkros kosmos : mīkros, small + kosmos, world, order. Related Forms: miˌcro·cosˈmic , miˌcro·cosˈmi·cal adjective miˌcro·cosˈmi·cal·ly adverb The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. microcosm - Cultural 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.)