Etymology
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microscopic (adj.)

1732, "pertaining to or functioning as a microscope;" see microscope + -ic. Meaning "of minute size" is from 1742. Related: Microscopical (1660s as "pertaining to a microscope"); microscopically.

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hairbreadth (n.)

also hairsbreadth, hairs-breadth, hair's breadth, from late 15c. as a measure of minute exactness. It is said to once have been a formal unit of measure equal to one-forty-eighth of an inch. From hair + breadth.

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hang on (v.)
1860, "to remain clinging," 1860, especially "cling fondly to" (1871); see hang (v.) + on (adv.). As a command to be patient, wait a minute, from 1936, originally in telephone conversations.
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chigger (n.)

"minute fle-like insect of the West Indies and South America," 1756, from West Indies chigoe (1660s), possibly from Carib, or from or influenced by words from African languages (such as Wolof and Yoruba jiga "insect").

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distillation (n.)

late 14c., "process or act of distilling," from Medieval Latin distillationem (nominative distillatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin distillare "to trickle down in minute drops" (see distill). Meaning "a product of distilling" is from early 15c.

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punctilio (n.)

1590s, "small point," also "minute detail of conduct, small or petty formality," thus "particularity or exactness in the observance of rules or forms prescribed by law or custom," from Italian puntiglio or Spanish puntillo, diminutive of punto "point" (see point (n.)).

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mite (n.1)

"tiny animal, minute arachnid," Old English mite "minute, parasitic insect or arachnid," from Proto-Germanic *miton (source also of Middle Dutch mite, Dutch mijt, Old High German miza, Danish mide) meaning originally perhaps "the cutter," in reference to its bite, from Proto-Germanic *mait- (source also of Gothic maitan, Old High German meizen "to cut"), from PIE root *mai- (1) "to cut" (see maim). Compare ant. Or else its original sense is "something small," and it is from PIE root *mei- (2) "small," in reference to size.

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nicety (n.)

late 14c., nicete, "folly, stupidity," a sense now obsolete, from Old French niceté "foolishness, childishness, simplicity," from nice "silly" (see nice). It underwent a sense evolution parallel to that of nice, arriving at "minute, subtle point" 1580s and "exactitude, accuracy" in 1650s. Phrase to a nicety "exactly, with great exactness" is attested from 1795.

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trichinosis (n.)
"disease caused by trichinae," 1864, coined by Bernhard Rupprecht (1815-1877) by 1864 from trichina (1835), Modern Latin, genus name of the minute, hair-like parasitic worms that cause it, from Greek trikhine, fem. of trikhinos "of or like hair," from thrix (genitive trikhos) "hair."
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trace (n.1)
"track made by passage of a person or thing," c. 1300, from Old French trace "mark, imprint, tracks" (12c.), back-formation from tracier (see trace (v.)). Scientific sense of "indication of minute presence in some chemical compound" is from 1827. Traces "vestiges" is from c. 1400.
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