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

Examples of disintegrate in a Sentence

The paper will disintegrate if it gets wet. The laser can disintegrate most kinds of rock.
Recent Examples on the Web Footage filmed by a thermal observation device with South Korean frontline units showed a projectile spiraling out of control on an irregular flight path, then disintegrating. Reuters, NBC News, 28 June 2024 When the sea ice finally disintegrated in April 1916, the crew launched lifeboats and managed to reach Elephant Island five days later. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 13 June 2024 Inevitably, the Millbrook scene disintegrated into chaos, and both women embarked on their own adventures, and away from Mr. Leary. Penelope Green, New York Times, 2 May 2024 Furthermore, millions of people living along the seashore and on islands are being forced to move because coastlines are disintegrating as sea level rises and because coastal storms are getting increasingly severe. Joyeeta Gupta, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for disintegrate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disintegrate.' 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

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 24 Jul. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on disintegrate

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