disintegrate

verb

dis·​in·​te·​grate (ˌ)dis-ˈin-tə-ˌgrāt How to pronounce disintegrate (audio)
disintegrated; disintegrating; disintegrates

transitive verb

1
: to break or decompose into constituent elements, parts, or small particles
water disintegrates the limestone
2
: to destroy the unity or integrity (see integrity sense 3) of
The lies disintegrated their marriage.

intransitive verb

1
: to break or separate into constituent elements or parts
The iron hinges were disintegrating into dust.
2
: to lose unity or integrity by or as if by breaking into parts
The relationship started to disintegrate.
3
: to undergo a change in composition (see composition sense 2)
an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity
disintegrative adjective
disintegrator noun

Example Sentences

The paper will disintegrate if it gets wet. The laser can disintegrate most kinds of rock.
Recent Examples on the Web Microplastics—the microscopic shards of deteriorated plastics formed as bigger products disintegrate—have tainted our global water system, our food chain, and even our atmosphere, as new research from the University of Auckland shows. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 14 Dec. 2022 The infected corals’ living tissue begins to disintegrate, sometimes losing color. Sammy Westfall, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 Some experts hypothesize that the rest of the Titanic will fully disintegrate within the next few decades. Marisa Sloan, Discover Magazine, 4 Feb. 2022 The second reason is that our bodies disintegrate into the earth, and a pine box allows for that. Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel, 22 Dec. 2022 The scientists discovered a way to disintegrate two concentrated, toxic forms of PFAS into smaller, innocuous compounds that decompose. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 22 Aug. 2022 Sog resistance: Still edible at 10 minutes, though starting to disintegrate. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Feb. 2022 The past several months have seen West under intense scrutiny as his business, personal and musical affairs disintegrate in the aftermath of his antisemitic rants. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 27 Nov. 2022 Perhaps, the considered, early humans had cooked the fish over low heat, which would’ve preserved the teeth but caused the bones to disintegrate over time. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1796, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of disintegrate was in 1796

Dictionary Entries Near disintegrate

Cite this Entry

“Disintegrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disintegrate. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

disintegrate

verb
dis·​in·​te·​grate (ˈ)dis-ˈint-ə-ˌgrāt How to pronounce disintegrate (audio)
1
: to break or decompose into the elements, parts, or small particles making up something
2
: to go through a change in composition
an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity
disintegrator noun

Medical Definition

disintegrate

verb
dis·​in·​te·​grate (ˈ)dis-ˈint-ə-ˌgrāt How to pronounce disintegrate (audio)
disintegrated; disintegrating

transitive verb

: to break or decompose into constituent elements, parts, or small particles

intransitive verb

1
: to break or separate into constituent elements or parts
2
: to undergo a change in composition
an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity
disintegration noun

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