# Why are microwaves called “microwaves”, when they are much longer than a micrometer?

If "millimeter waves" have a wavelength of about 1 mm, one might linguistically expect microwaves to have a wavelength of about three orders of magnitude less, not the same or greater. How did microwaves get their name?

I did consider posting this on EL&U but think here it might get the benefit of more specialized knowledge or people more familiar with the concept of microwaves and wavelengths and the concepts being communicated by these terms.

• The Greek mikros just means small, and the term microwave just means small wave. For example microcephaly just means having a small head and not that your head is $10^{-6}$m in size. – John Rennie Oct 9 '15 at 16:41
• When physicists discovered that microwave ovens use electromagnetic waves to heat their contents, they named the involved electromagnetic waves after the type of oven. – Daniel Griscom Oct 10 '15 at 2:24
• @DanielGriscom. But, as Chris's answer shows, the waves came first, the ovens afterwards. – fdb Oct 13 '15 at 13:09
• c'mon... did I really need a ;) after that comment? – Daniel Griscom Oct 13 '15 at 13:53