AskDefine | Define microscopic

Dictionary Definition

microscopic adj
1 of or relating to or used in microscopy; "microscopic analysis"; "microscopical examination" [syn: microscopical]
2 too small to be seen except under a microscope [syn: microscopical, small] [ant: macroscopic]
3 extremely precise with great attention to details; "examined it with microscopic care"
4 infinitely or immeasurably small; "two minute whiplike threads of protoplasm"; "reduced to a microscopic scale" [syn: infinitesimal, minute]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (US)
    • /ˌmaɪkrəˈskɑpɪk/
    • /%maIkr@"skApIk/
    Rhymes: -ɒpɪk


  1. of, or relating to microscopes or microscopy; microscopal
    We supply all microscopic stains and other materials.
  2. so small that it can only be seen using a microscope
    The water was full of microscopic organisms.
  3. very small; minute
    Compared to the galaxy, we are microscopic in scale.
  4. carried out with great attention to detail
    The police carried out a microscopic search of the crime scene.


relating to microscopes
so small that it can only be seen using a microscope
very small
carried out with great attention to detail

Extensive Definition

Microscopic is a term used to describe those objects smaller than can not be easily seen by the naked eye and which require a lens or microscope to see them clearly. By convention it is also used to describe classes of objects which are most commonly too small to see but of which some members are large enough to be observed with the eye. Such groups include the Cladocera, planktonic green algae of which Volvox is readily observable, and the protozoa of which Stentor can be easily seen without aid.
Microscopic is also by association used to classify and describe the units and measurements relevant to very small objects. The antonym to microscopic is macroscopic
The units used to describe objects on a microscopic length scale are most commonly the Micrometer (µm) - one millionth of 1 metre, and smaller units.
Microscopic is also commonly used as a hyperbole in the English language to describe small objects of a class that would be expected to be bigger - as in "Her feet are microscopic!"
microscopic in Icelandic: Smásær

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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