par·​ti·​cle | \ ˈpär-ti-kəl How to pronounce particle (audio) \

Definition of particle

1a : a minute quantity or fragment
b : a relatively small or the smallest discrete portion or amount of something
2 archaic : a clause or article of a composition or document
3 : any of the basic units of matter and energy (such as a molecule, atom, proton, electron, or photon)
4 : a unit of speech expressing some general aspect of meaning or some connective or limiting relation and including the articles, most prepositions and conjunctions, and some interjections and adverbs the particle up has a perfective meaning in phrases such as beat up and cut up
5 : a small eucharistic wafer distributed to a Roman Catholic layman at Communion

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Examples of particle in a Sentence

There is not a particle of evidence to support their claim. There is not a particle of truth in what he said. The phrasal verb “look up” consists of the verb “look” and the adverbial particle “up.”
Recent Examples on the Web The hero ingredient to target blackheads is the Volcanic Ash, a fine highly absorbent particle. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 And Joe Harris, one of the team’s best shooters, had a bone particle removed from his left ankle in November. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 Even a single particle has its own, unique microstates. Stav Dimitropoulos, Popular Mechanics, 22 Apr. 2022 There is no single definition for what a microplastic is, but researchers generally describe them as any particle of plastic less than 5 millimeters in size, but larger than 1 micrometer. NBC News, 11 Apr. 2022 Researchers believe that may have been the result of a limonite particle being present in the stone at that location. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Mar. 2022 Given the velocity of each particle in the fluid at some starting point, the Euler equations should predict the flow of the fluid for all time. Quanta Magazine, 12 Apr. 2022 Say the motion of particles without having to do detailed calculations on the possible behavior of every single particle. Katie Hafner, Scientific American, 31 Mar. 2022 Enlarge / Transmission electron micrograph of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle isolated from a patient sample and cultivated in cell culture. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 11 Mar. 2022 See More

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

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First Known Use of particle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for particle

Middle English, from Latin particula, from diminutive of part-, pars

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Time Traveler for particle

Time Traveler

The first known use of particle was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near particle



particle accelerator

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Particle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for particle


par·​ti·​cle | \ ˈpär-ti-kəl How to pronounce particle (audio) \

Kids Definition of particle

: a very small bit or amount of something a particle of sand a particle of sense


par·​ti·​cle | \ ˈpärt-i-kəl How to pronounce particle (audio) \

Medical Definition of particle

1 : one of the minute subdivisions of matter (as an atom or molecule) also : elementary particle
2 : a minute quantity or fragment

More from Merriam-Webster on particle

Nglish: Translation of particle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of particle for Arabic Speakers


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