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.
updated on October 27, 2018