elementary particle

noun

: any of the particles of which matter and energy are composed or which mediate the fundamental forces of nature
especially : one whose existence has not been attributed to the combination of other more fundamental entities

Examples of elementary particle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Panpsychism may remain a controversial theory in science that contends that consciousness extends to everything in the universe down to the smallest elementary particle, but Pollini’s playing has something to say about it. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Lily Asquith, a physicist searching for the Higgs boson--the elementary particle believed to give everything in the universe mass--is using more than her eyes. Joseph Calamia, Discover Magazine, 20 May 2010 Voids could even help to nail down the nature of —elementary particles, once thought to be massless, that pervade the universe while barely interacting with ordinary matter. Michael D. Lemonick, Scientific American, 1 Jan. 2024 The standard model of elementary particles, including anti-particles. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 24 Mar. 2023 Strings also appear in the way the strong force acts among quarks, which are the elementary particles that make up a proton. Kevin Hartnett, Quanta Magazine, 18 Apr. 2023 Alternatively, dark matter may consist of some possible elementary particles known as QCD axions that are extremely lightweight. Kat Friedrich, Popular Mechanics, 10 Mar. 2023 Instead, it was first used to explain how protons and neutrons are made of elementary particles called quarks and gluons. WIRED, 10 Aug. 2023 Viewed from afar, as if through a telescope, a black hole should behave like a planet, a star, or any other conglomerate of elementary particles. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 2 Aug. 2023

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

1934, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elementary particle was in 1934

Dictionary Entries Near elementary particle

Cite this Entry

“Elementary particle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elementary%20particle. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

elementary particle

noun
: any of the particles (as electrons or photons) of matter and energy that are smaller than atoms and do not appear to be made up of a combination of more basic things

Medical Definition

elementary particle

noun
1
: any of the particles of which matter and energy are composed or which mediate the fundamental forces of nature
especially : one (as the photon or the electron) whose existence has not been attributed to the combination of other more fundamental entities
2
: one of the structural units of mitochondrial cristae that are observable by the electron microscope usually as spheres or stalked spheres and are probably the seat of fundamental energy-producing reactions

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