Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. Today we will micromanage your learning in no “small” way to tell you all about the Greek prefix micro-!
When someone refers to something as simply micro, she means that it is “small.” A microscope, for instance, enables a scientist to see “small” living organisms. Living creatures viewed under a microscope are called microorganisms, or very “small” one-celled creatures, such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Microbiologists study these “small” life forms, also known as microbes.
Many inventions use the prefix micro- which means “small.” A microphone, for instance, makes a “small” voice louder, just like a microscope makes “small” images larger. A microwave is a relatively “small” radio wave, measuring in length from one millimeter to one meter; a microwave oven uses these “small” radio waves to heat food. A microprocessor is a “small” processor at the heart of a computer that performs such tasks as computation, communication, and multimedia functions.
I hope that you have never been saddled with a boss who is a micromanager, or who likes to control every “small” aspect of everything that his employees do, no matter how “small!”
Now the next time you speak into a microphone, peer into a microscope, or use a microwave, you will know that it is no “small” potatoes to know what micro- is all about!
- micro: ‘small’
- microscope: instrument that makes ‘small’ things perceptible
- microorganism: very ‘small’ living creature consisting of one cell
- microbiologist: a scientist who studies ‘small’ living creatures
- microbe: very ‘small’ life form
- microphone: makes a ‘small’ voice loud
- microwave: ‘small’ radio wave
- microprocessor: ‘small’ computer processing unit
- micromanager: supervisor who looks at every ‘small’ thing her employees do