nano·​par·​ti·​cle ˈna-nə-ˌpär-ti-kəl How to pronounce nanoparticle (audio)
: a microscopic particle whose size is measured in nanometers

Did you know?

Nanoparticles of a material usually have very different qualities from those that the material has at its ordinary scale, which is one reason why there's such excitement about the possibilities for how they might be used in future technologies. Many uses have already been developed. Aluminum nanoparticles added to rocket fuel can make the fuel burn twice as fast and release much more energy. Silicon nanoparticles are increasing the energy efficiency of solar cells by allowing the energy from ultraviolet light to be captured for the first time. Other nanoparticles are now helping prevent rust in metals, produce stronger batteries, enhance the diagnosis of cancer, and improve the filtering of water, and the number of other applications is growing fast.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But the nanoparticle-eating fish slowed way, way down. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2012 Cleaning oil spills could be as easy as scraping frosting off a cake, thanks to a nanoparticle coating developed by Philip Brown and Bharat Bhushan, engineers at the Ohio State University. Leah Shaffer, Discover Magazine, 29 Nov. 2015 Naik says the Japanese team chose the right material and nanoparticle size to achieve this feat. IEEE Spectrum, 30 Dec. 2022 If the expansion is strong enough, the nanoparticle will boil the water around it and create vapor bubbles. Dallas News, 26 Apr. 2022 Melittin on the nanoparticle fuses with the viral envelope and ruptures it, stripping the virus's shell. Perrin Ireland, Discover Magazine, 17 Mar. 2013 Yu is focused on identifying the part of the exosome-like nanoparticle responsible for anti-inflammatory effects. Kristina Campbell, Scientific American, 17 June 2020 That research identified a specific type of lipid nanoparticle that could carry CRISPR gene-editing material specifically to the liver, which is the site of the modifications needed to address cholesterol problems. Markham Heid, Time, 6 Dec. 2022 The Novavax vaccine is made using a different approach, employing recombinant nanoparticle technology. Helen Branswell, STAT, 21 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nanoparticle was in 1983

Dictionary Entries Near nanoparticle

Cite this Entry

“Nanoparticle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition


nano·​par·​ti·​cle -ˌpärt-i-kəl How to pronounce nanoparticle (audio)
: a microscopic particle whose size is measured in nanometers
drugs bound to biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles

More from Merriam-Webster on nanoparticle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?