Macro, Meso, ??, Micro, Nano
February 2, 2011 1:50 PM   Subscribe

I need help with some terminology of scale. Is there a term for something on a scale between "meso" and "micro"? Alternatively, I'd be happy with something higher than "macro" or between "micro" and "nano" (but I'd rather avoid that one if possible).

I'm doing a presentation of my research. I have 5 levels of analysis (I call them "Scales of Inquiry") and can only find 4 terms. The one I'm missing is definitely within the macro-meso-micro continuum. I thought of using meso' but I just made that up entirely, so there must be a better way. Any ideas?
posted by Eumachia L F to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
Below nano- is pico-. Above macro-... giganto-?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:58 PM on February 2, 2011

There's "mini" and "midi".
posted by halogen at 2:05 PM on February 2, 2011

I think above macro, mega would work nicely.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:06 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could use mini- as something between micro- and meso-. mega- could be above macro-.
posted by grouse at 2:06 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:53 PM on February 2, 2011

Mini is the first thing that comes to mind, but jamming another point on the scale between micro and macro doesn't make much sense. Meso already means in the middle of the two opposing ends, so if you add another term, suddenly meso makes no sense. You can add nano at the end of the scale, because micro is already an SI prefix, so it isn't too jarring. Perhaps you would be better off sticking strictly with SI prefixes (pico, nano, micro, kilo, mega or similar).
posted by ssg at 3:06 PM on February 2, 2011

Synoptic is used in meteorology for sizes above mesoscale.
posted by kiltedtaco at 3:45 PM on February 2, 2011

I think that the really commonly used SI terms, like kilo, centi, deci, and milli suffer from people knowing exactly what they mean in terms of powers of ten. It took me a while to be able to explain why I have a problem with using k, c, d and m, but now that I've figured it out, I'm pretty determined that those four would cause problems, where as mega, macro, meso, micro and nano I'm okay with: for the majority of people, they have limited meaning in everyday life.

Kilometer, centimeter, deciliter, millimeter, milligram and so on.

Then again there's always the humongous, gigantic, elephantine, big, breadbox, bug, speck of dust scale.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:50 PM on February 2, 2011

I'm not sure of the domain so I'll throw out some wild shots:

human (as in human-scale)
posted by chairface at 4:03 PM on February 2, 2011

It can sometimes be easier to just say what you mean.
Very large/huge/largest, large, moderate, small, very small/tiny/smallest.
Top-level, high-level, mid-level, low-level, bottom-level.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:15 PM on February 2, 2011

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm trying to describe my analytical approach in Archaeological Science, which transitions from cultural-level abstractions to chemical analysis on an electron microscope with sub-levels in between. I've decided to go with adding Mega above Macro, which keeps Meso handily in the middle. It also sounds really cool.
posted by Eumachia L F at 1:56 AM on February 3, 2011

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