dis·​in·​te·​gra·​tion (ˌ)dis-ˌin-tə-ˈgrā-shən How to pronounce disintegration (audio)
plural disintegrations
: the act or process of disintegrating or the state of being disintegrated: such as
: the breaking down of something into small particles or into its constituent elements
Some glaciers have been destabilized by warmer ocean waters. Scientists fear that parts of the ice sheet may be in the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration.Justin Gillis
But miraculously, officials say, the countless bits of debris from the disintegration of the space shuttle Columbia injured not a soul on the ground.The New York Times
: loss of unity or integrity by or as if by breaking into parts
Declining sales led to the company's gradual disintegration and ultimate demise.
What's more, the fear of many conservatives that we might be at the mercy of unstoppable forces of social disintegration turned out to be wrong.William Kristol
Over the long run, however, there is no substitute for addressing the root causes of crime—bad education and lack of job opportunities and the disintegration of families.Daniel D. Polsby

Examples of disintegration in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Cohen's role as star prosecution witness further cements the disintegration of a mutually beneficial relationship. TIME, 13 May 2024 That is why his later disintegration is so sad, as well as appalling. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 3 May 2024 For many in the troubled North African nation of some 7 million, the dams’ disintegration has become a symbol of both the dysfunction and venality of Libya’s political class. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2023 In the late twentieth century, however, Ethiopia again teetered at the edge of disintegration. Alex De Waal, Foreign Affairs, 8 Apr. 2024 The knowledge of milpa farming empowered many rural farmers to navigate climate changes during the notorious Maya Collapse – two centuries of political disintegration and urban depopulation between A.D. 800 to 1000. Chelsea Fisher, The Conversation, 26 Feb. 2024 In this indispensable compendium, 29 leading experts, including many young Cuban scholars, delve deeply into this precipitous disintegration. Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 This can accelerate the disintegration of delicate, organic materials preserved on wrecks, such as ropes, sails and textiles. Laura Paddison, CNN, 14 Feb. 2024 While colonialism was a factor, other global developments—the spread of ethnic nationalism, the disintegration of Eurasian empires coupled with the expansion of the British and French empires, and the widespread persecution of ethnic and religious minorities—were also of great importance. TIME, 1 Feb. 2024

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

1794, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disintegration was in 1794

Dictionary Entries Near disintegration

Cite this Entry

“Disintegration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disintegration. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the act or process of disintegrating : the state of being disintegrated
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