Definition of particle
1a : a minute quantity or fragmentb : 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
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 of particle from the Web
The experiment allows NASA scientists to track particle motions in space.
The Muon g-2 experiment that the electromagnet is part of has begun its search for phantom particles, lab officials said.
The waves shrank and expanded space on Earth by just a fraction of the width of a proton, one of the particles that makes up an atomic nucleus.
This undated electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows human immunodeficiency virus particles (virions).
Four suites of instruments will measure the Sun’s magnetic field, the solar wind’s speed, and the density and temperature of the particles that make it up.
Unsuspecting children are surrounded by the drug’s fallout, invisible particles of peril that seep into carpets and bedspreads, and stick to walls, kitchen tables and TV remote controls.
Last fall, 11 SWAT officers in Hartford, Connecticut, were sickened after a flash-bang grenade sent particles of heroin and fentanyl airborne.
Cheaper materials like particle board were prohibited.
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.
Origin and Etymology of particle
Middle English, from Latin particula, from diminutive of part-, pars
First Known Use: 14th century
PARTICLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of particle for English Language Learners
: a very small piece of something
: a very small amount of something
physics : any one of the very small parts of matter (such as a molecule, atom, or electron)
PARTICLE Defined for Kids
Definition of particle for Students
: a very small bit or amount of something a particle of sand a particle of sense
Word Root of particle
The Latin word pars, meaning “part,” and its form partis give us the root part. Words from the Latin pars have something to do with a part, section, or portion. To participate is to take part in some activity. Anything partial involves only part of something. A particle is a tiny bit or portion of something. It is easy to see that part itself also comes directly from pars in both form and meaning.
Seen and Heard
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