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

Inhaling large amounts of these fine particles can cause respiratory problems and asthma, worsen heart and lung diseases, cause eye and skin irritation, and contribute to premature death, according to numerous scientific studies and reports. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "New rules to protect workers when wildfires’ smoke fills the air," 29 July 2019 The effects of ingesting the chemicals from these particles are still unknown. oregonlive.com, "What are the long-term health effects from wildfire smoke? Oregon doctors say it’s something they’re still learning about.," 22 July 2019 As these particles hit the detectors, the timing and energy of the strikes are recorded—enabling astronomers to reconstruct the energy and trajectory of the original gamma ray. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Highest energy light ever seen traced to Crab Nebula," 8 July 2019 Inhaling these particles has been found to produce harmful effects including asthma and heart disease. Aidan Ryan, BostonGlobe.com, "Chinatown has worst air quality in Massachusetts, report says," 27 June 2019 Scientists are just beginning to understand the impact these particles are having on fish, the food chain, and ultimately, us. Susan Goldberg, National Geographic, "These tiny fish reveal our oceans’ biggest problem: plastic," 12 June 2019 These little infectious particles can remain active in the air for a long time — up to two hours, according to the CDC. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Measles Signs in Kids Every Parent Needs to Know About," 3 Apr. 2019 As these particles decay, a stream of neutrinos is produced. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "Why Fermilab is Making A Neutrino Detector 800 Miles Long," 12 Mar. 2019 Scientists believe these particles can travel six feet through the air—or more. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Quick Question: Why Do We Sneeze?," 8 Mar. 2019

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

6 Aug 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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a period when something is suspended

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