at·​om·​ize ˈa-tə-ˌmīz How to pronounce atomize (audio)
atomized; atomizing

transitive verb

: to treat as made up of many discrete units
: to reduce to minute particles or to a fine spray
: divide, fragment
an atomized society
also : to deprive of meaningful ties to others
atomized individuals
: to subject to attack by nuclear weapons
atomization noun

Examples of atomize in a Sentence

this medication for athlete's foot is atomized so that it can be sprayed on from an aerosol can
Recent Examples on the Web On the apps, music is atomized into bits, stripped of biography, history, and iconography. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 31 July 2023 Almost half the novel is devoted to a fascinating reenactment of an average week behind the scenes — from pitch meeting to after-show drinks — sometimes atomized right down to the minute. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2023 What Americans often fail to imagine is the price of silent disagreement, of thinking differently in a society so atomized that all that holds it together is the fear of and anger at its enemies. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 15 June 2023 More value has been created by atomizing sports rights than by selling more at once. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Apr. 2023 This flattening, atomizing force is what seemingly accounts for Portis’s preoccupation with Gnomon-esque guilds and other such flimsy attempts at restoring enchantment and community to a culture that has lost all meaningful trace of either. Will Stephenson, Harper’s Magazine , 13 Mar. 2023 If anything, Noseda seemed intent on casting harder light for longer shadows, especially through the slow-stretching introduction before the first movement’s cannonball into allegro vivace and the way its themes atomize and reassemble at its conclusion. Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2022 In a coaxial-swirl injector, the liquid fuels come into the chamber as two rotating liquid sheets, and as the sheets collide, they're atomized to create a propellant that combusts. IEEE Spectrum, 28 Nov. 2021 Early in the Cold War, the Soviet air force planned to send nuclear-armed bombers across the Bering Sea on their way to atomize American cities. David Axe, Forbes, 7 May 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'atomize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of atomize was in 1865

Dictionary Entries Near atomize

Cite this Entry

“Atomize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


at·​om·​ize ˈat-ə-ˌmīz How to pronounce atomize (audio)
atomized; atomizing
: to reduce to very tiny particles or to a fine spray

Medical Definition


transitive verb
variants or British atomise
atomized or British atomised; atomizing or British atomising
: to convert to minute particles or to a fine spray
an atomized medicated powder
atomization noun
or British atomisation

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