atom·​ic | \ ə-ˈtä-mik How to pronounce atomic (audio) \

Definition of atomic

1a : of, relating to, or concerned with atoms atomic physics
b : nuclear sense 2 atomic energy
2a : marked by acceptance of the theory of atomism
3 : minute
4 of a chemical element : existing in the state of separate atoms

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Other Words from atomic

atomically \ -​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce atomically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of atomic in a Sentence

made atomic adjustments to the clock's mechanism to keep it from whirring as it ran

Recent Examples on the Web

Last April marked the 33rd anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine, caused by a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the atomic plant that sent clouds of nuclear material across much of Europe. NBC News, "HBO miniseries success drives Chernobyl tourism boom," 6 June 2019 But this appears to violate a bedrock concept of quantum physics, the rules that describe how the universe works at the atomic and subatomic levels. NBC News, "What Stephen Hawking taught us about black holes," 17 Mar. 2018 Her model explained why certain numbers of nucleons make for stable atomic configurations. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "32 Women Who’ve Changed Life As We Know It," 31 Mar. 2019 For any hydrogen to survive without getting incorporated into larger atomic nuclei, the scientists found a different fundamental constant would have to be smaller. Charles Q. Choi,, "Why Alternate Universes Might Also Host Life Around their Stars," 26 Sep. 2018 Future research can examine universes with different strengths of the strong nuclear force, the strongest known force between particles, which binds protons together in atomic nuclei, despite their mutual repulsion, Howe said. Charles Q. Choi,, "Why Alternate Universes Might Also Host Life Around their Stars," 26 Sep. 2018 This was a category British engineers at the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE) were ready to fill with an atomic land mine. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Britain Built a Nuclear Land Mine and Almost Used Chickens To Detonate It," 21 Dec. 2018 During the 1950s, the advent of the atomic age forced the U.S. Navy to look at a number of alternate basing schemes for naval aviation. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Could Have Had a Submarine Aircraft Carrier," 21 Nov. 2018 Maria Goeppert-Mayer shared the 1962 prize with E. Paul Wigner and Hans Jensen for her work on the shell structure of atomic nuclei. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "2018 physics Nobel Prize honors 3, including first woman in 55 years," 2 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atomic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of atomic

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for atomic

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for atomic

The first known use of atomic was in 1678

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More Definitions for atomic



English Language Learners Definition of atomic

: of or relating to atoms
: of, relating to, or using the energy that is produced when atoms are split apart


atom·​ic | \ ə-ˈtä-mik How to pronounce atomic (audio) \

Kids Definition of atomic

1 : of or relating to atoms atomic physics
2 : nuclear sense 3 atomic energy

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More from Merriam-Webster on atomic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with atomic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for atomic

Spanish Central: Translation of atomic

Nglish: Translation of atomic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atomic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on atomic

What made you want to look up atomic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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