I want so say that the battle between video rental store franchise companies like Hollywood Entertainment Corporation and internet video streaming companies like Netflix is something of the shift that the .com era brought to the prevailing business management philosophy and practice in America. "Microcosmic" isn't quite it.. what's that word?

  • representative of? – Mohit Feb 21 '14 at 8:51

The word you want is probably indicative. The smaller example is an indicator of the conflict going on in the larger context.


bib's answer is good, but if you are looking specifically for an adjective, emblematic is a good fit.


Instead of ... is [something] of ... You could say epitomizes

to serve as the typical or ideal example of

  • I think "epitomizes" can be distracting if this video store war is not the perfect example of whatever phenomena I would avoid "epitomize." – dfc Feb 21 '14 at 3:42

I believe microcosm does encompass all of the meanings you were looking for. I know you ruled it out above, but it does fit.

The Google definition: a community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristic qualities or features of something much larger.

You could easily say the battle between them is a microcosm of the greater shift.


Such relationships are very often described from the opposite perspective as "A is B writ large"

If one thing is another thing writ large, it is similar to it but larger or more obvious:
Hollywood is often said to be American society writ large.

Although the corresponding writ small is about 15 times less common, that's just a relative thing. There are over 20,000 written instances of it in Google Books - for example,...

"The self is simply society writ small."


You could also use the term "reflective".

reflective: reflecting something : indicative (how fashion is reflective of society — Glenda Bailey)--Merriam-Webster


To add to other good suggestions, if you want to give a negative connotation, then "symptomatic" is a good one.

"This latest factory closure is symptomatic of the decline in US manufacturing"


There are several words that would work for you.

Start with words like representative, illustrative, symbolic, and emblematic. These words suggest that the example case that you gave encompasses many of the attributes or characteristics of the shift that the .com era brought.

Another word that works (but may not be what you are going for) is symptomatic. In this case, to be symptomatic would be to indicate some of the consequences that the shift to the .com era brought.

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