com·​mi·​nute ˈkä-mə-ˌnüt How to pronounce comminute (audio)
comminuted; comminuting

transitive verb

: to reduce to minute particles : pulverize
comminution noun

Did you know?

What do comminute, pulverize, and triturate all have in common? All three words are derived from Latin and share the meaning "to reduce to small particles." Comminute can be traced back to the prefix com- and the verb minuere, meaning "to lessen." Pulverize descends from a combination of pulver-, meaning "dust" or "powder," with the suffix -izare, which—like the English -ize—can mean "to cause to be." Triturate is borrowed from the past participle of the Latin triturare, which means "to thresh." Triturate specifically refers to the use of rubbing or grinding to achieve pulverization, a process which could be said to resemble the use of rubbing to separate grains from harvested cereal plants.

Examples of comminute in a Sentence

eons of incessant pounding by the waves have comminuted the once-rocky shoreline into a bed of fine-grained sand
Recent Examples on the Web The report of displacement (out of alignment) is not as worrisome as if the fracture was comminuted (pieces). Profootballdoc,, 5 Nov. 2017 Also, this prognosis is rooted in my hopefulness the fracture is not comminuted (in multiple pieces), as that might prolong the timeline by a couple of weeks. Profootballdoc,, 16 Oct. 2017

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

Word History


Latin comminutus, past participle of comminuere, from com- + minuere to lessen — more at minor

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of comminute was in 1626


Dictionary Entries Near comminute

Cite this Entry

“Comminute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


transitive verb
com·​mi·​nute ˈkäm-ə-ˌn(y)üt How to pronounce comminute (audio)
comminuted; comminuting
: to reduce to minute particles
prolonged trituration to comminute a therapeutic agent
comminution noun

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