particle

noun
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.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

Laze plumes occur when lava meets salty sea water and sends up clouds of hydrochloric acid and steam embedded with fine glass particles. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Hawaii Added 875 Acres of Volcanic Land Last Year," 25 Feb. 2019 Kilauea volcano began erupting more than two weeks ago and has burned dozens of homes, forced people to flee and shot up plumes of steam from its summit that led officials to distribute face masks to protect against ash particles. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Yellowstone's magma chamber is more powerful than we knew. Here's why studying it matters.," 3 July 2018 About 3 miles to the east of the plant on the coast, noxious clouds of acid fumes, along with steam and fine glass-like particles billowed into the sky as lava poured into the ocean from two lava flows. NBC News, "Lava inching toward Hawaiian geothermal power plant," 23 May 2018 The Universe is divided into families of particles. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Quark-gluon plasma reveals viscosity-free properties," 19 Dec. 2018 Look for masks with N95 labels on them, as 95 refers to the percentage of particles blocked—the higher the number, the better, but don’t go below 95. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "California Fires: What to Know If You're Visiting California This Week," 21 Nov. 2018 Wildfire smoke generated by burning trees and plant life, a mix of gases and tiny particles, can cause respiratory system irritation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "The Dangerous Health Risks That Could Follow the California Wildfires," 16 Nov. 2018 The disease stems from long-term exposure to irritating gases or air particles, most often from cigarette smoke. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Barbara Bush Quit Smoking in 1968 After a Nurse Called Her Out," 18 Apr. 2018 Say, for example, that all of the gases and particles collected indicate the fission products are 6.2 percent atoms with an atomic mass of 137, 6.1 percent with 99, and so on. Andrew Karam, Popular Mechanics, "Nuclear Forensics: How Scientists Can Tell Whether North Korea Is Lying About Its Bomb Test," 7 Jan. 2016

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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Statistics for particle

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for particle

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

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More Definitions for particle

particle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of particle

: 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

noun
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

particle

noun
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on particle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with particle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for particle

Spanish Central: Translation of particle

Nglish: Translation of particle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of particle for Arabic Speakers

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one that collects or salvages junk

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