Microcosm definition

mīkrə-kŏzəm
Frequency:
A little world; miniature universe.
  • (historical) The concept that a human being is an epitome of the world.
  • A community regarded as a miniature or epitome of the world.
  • Anything regarded as epitomizing, encapsulating, or representing in miniature.
noun
15
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A small, representative system having analogies to a larger system in constitution, configuration, or development.
noun
10
2
(ecol.) A small ecosystem, as a pond.
noun
6
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Human nature or the human body as representative of the wider universe; man considered as a miniature counterpart of divine or universal nature. [from 15th c.]
noun
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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.

noun
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A smaller system which is seen as representative of a larger one. [from 17th c.]
noun
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(ecology) A small natural ecosystem; an artificial ecosystem set up as an experimental model. [from 19th c.]
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
microcosm
Plural:
microcosms

Origin of microcosm

  • Middle English microcosme man as a little world from Old French from Late Latin mīcrocosmus from Greek mīkros kosmos mīkros small kosmos world, order

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From French microcosme, from Latin microcosmus, from Ancient Greek μικρός (mikrós, “small") + κόσμος (kosmos, “world").

    From Wiktionary