late 12c., mycrocossmos (modern form from early 15c.), "human nature, man viewed as the epitome of creation," literally "miniature world," from Medieval Latin microcosmus, from Greek mikros "small" (see micro-) + kosmos "world" (see cosmos).
General sense of "a community constituting a world unto itself, a little society" is attested from 1560s, perhaps from French microcosme. A native expression in the same sense was petty world (c. 1600).
Forrþi mahht tu nemmnenn mann Affterr Grikkishe spæche Mycrocossmos, þat nemmnedd iss Affterr Ennglisshe spæche Þe little werelld. ["Ormulum," c. 1175]
mid-15c., mondeine, "of this world, worldly, terrestrial," from Old French mondain "of this world, worldly, earthly, secular;" also "pure, clean; noble, generous" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin mundanus "belonging to the world" (as distinct from the Church), in classical Latin "a citizen of the world, cosmopolite," from mundus "universe, world," which is identical to mundus "clean, elegant," but the exact connection is uncertain and the etymology is unknown.
Latin mundus "world" was used as a translation of Greek kosmos (see cosmos) in its Pythagorean sense of "the physical universe" (the original sense of the Greek word was "orderly arrangement"). Like kosmos (and perhaps by influence of it), Latin mundus also was used of a woman's "ornaments, dress," which also could entangle the adjective mundus "clean, elegant."
The English word's extended sense of "dull, uninteresting" is attested by 1850. Related: Mundanely. The mundane era was the chronology that began with the supposed epoch of the Creation (famously reckoned as 4004 B.C.E.).
c. 1600, "the great world" (the universe, as distinct from the "little world" of man and human societies), from French macrocosme (c. 1300) and directly from Medieval Latin macrocosmus, from Greek makros "large, long" (from PIE root *mak- "long, thin") + kosmos "world," also "order, harmonious arrangement" (see cosmos). Compare microcosm. The concept, if not the word, generally is traced to Democritus (5c. B.C.E.). Related: Macrocosmic.
1690s, "a theory of the creation;" 1766 as "the creation of the universe;" 1777 as "science of the origin of the universe," from Latinized form of Greek kosmogonia "creation of the world," from kosmos "world, universe" (see cosmos) + -gonia "a begetting," from gonos "birth" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget"). Related: Cosmogonal; cosmogonic; cosmogonist.
by 1884, from French mal du sìecle, "world-weariness, atrophy of the spirit, aristocratic boredom, deep melancholy over the condition of the world," supposedly a characteristic condition of young romantics in Europe in the early 19c. It answers to German Weltschmerz.