Definition of microscope in US English:



  • An optical instrument used for viewing very small objects, such as mineral samples or animal or plant cells, typically magnified several hundred times.

    • ‘Photographs were taken after dissection using a microscope at a magnification of 64x.’
    • ‘The lengths were measured with an ocular micrometer fitted to the eyepiece of the microscope.’
    • ‘A pathologist will examine the prostate sample under a microscope and check whether or not it is cancerous.’
    • ‘She had spent weeks hunched over a microscope looking at samples of sperm.’
    • ‘He used a simple microscope, although compound microscopes were available at the time.’
    • ‘A biopsy allows scientists to look at a sample of your cells under a microscope and carry out tests on the tissue.’
    • ‘The paper shows that positrons can see defects better than either optical or electron beam microscopes.’
    • ‘They therefore resolve images at much higher magnifications than can light microscopes.’
    • ‘These research microscopes often have binocular eyepieces, relying upon a series of prisms to split the image so that it may be viewed with both eyes.’
    • ‘Currently available manual assays rely on microscopes (optical or fluorescence).’
    • ‘The sample is then sent to a laboratory to be looked at under a microscope for signs of cell change.’
    • ‘Optical inspection microscopes provide test capabilities for both masks and wafers at several different stages of the printing process.’
    • ‘We know that looking for abnormal cells down a microscope is not an exact science, and that is the problem.’
    • ‘This simple approach recognises the fact that mycobacterial culture is not feasible in peripheral units but that light microscopes and trained microscopy staff are available.’
    • ‘We had a lab to do that day, something to do with plants and microscopes and osmosis.’
    • ‘Light microscopes can magnify objects up to 1,000 times, revealing microscopic details.’
    • ‘Biosensors, such as patch clamps, electrodes, or microscopes are positioned to detect a response from the cell.’
    • ‘In rapid succession the field ion microscope and the scanning tunnelling microscope soon joined these microscopes.’
    • ‘Instead, the abundance of leaf hairs on leaf surfaces or veins was scored for each sample under a light microscope.’
    • ‘Measurements were made using a light microscope equipped with an eyepiece micrometer.’


  • under the microscope

    • Under critical examination.

      • ‘The state of roads across the city will come under the microscope at tomorrow's Environment and Transport Scrutiny Panel meeting.’
      • ‘All current spending has to be put under the microscope, with a thorough examination across all spending heads.’
      • ‘One of last century's most potent literary and political figures is put under the microscope in this prize-winning biography.’
      • ‘Each week a topical subject was put under the microscope and debated by way of historical writings.’
      • ‘The authority is among the first wave of district councils in the country to have its public services put under the microscope as part of the new assessment.’
      • ‘The California law has predictably been thrust under the microscope since its usage in this monumental trial.’
      • ‘I know I'm generalizing, but this show puts these tendencies under the microscope.’
      • ‘The US battle plans have been widely leaked and put under the microscope by Western military analysts.’
      • ‘Northern Rock will kick off the bank reporting season this week, bringing the state of the housing market back under the microscope.’
      • ‘An urgent need to support black and ethnic minority women who are victims of domestic abuse has been put under the microscope.’
      exploratory, investigational, probing, fact-finding, trial and error
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Mid 17th century: from modern Latin microscopium (see micro-, -scope).