particle

noun
par·​ti·​cle | \ ˈpär-ti-kəl \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.”
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Catalytic converters sit in the undercarriage of a car between the engine and the tailpipe, capturing toxic gases and particles. David Hodari, WSJ, "Thieves Mine Catalytic Converters for Metal More Valuable Than Gold," 10 Feb. 2019 As air moves through the filter, pollutants and particles are captured and the clean air is pushed back out into the living space. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Do Air Purifiers Actually Work?," 17 Dec. 2018 This uses high energy X-rays or particles to kill cancer cells, the ACS explains. Korin Miller, SELF, "What Are My Options for Ovarian Cancer Treatment?," 13 Dec. 2018 It’ll be taken apart and thoroughly scanned to understand how the harsh conditions of space — unpredictable levels of radiation, subatomic particles, and unstable power — can affect a commercial off-the-shelf computer. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "A supercomputer on the ISS will soon be open for science experiments," 1 Nov. 2018 But the meteor also could have sentenced the dinosaurs to extinction by kicking up a huge amount of dust and other particles, causing a temporary dimming of the sun and global cooling, and generating acid rainfall. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "UW’s new provost plumbs one of Earth’s most fascinating mysteries," 22 Oct. 2018 Plasma and particles ejected from the sun get altered and degraded on their journey here. Brian Resnick, Vox, "NASA is shooting a spaceship at the sun. It might help us solve a huge mystery.," 8 Aug. 2018 Debris from shotgun shells littered the field, and particles of a gray metallic substance were seen. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "Ballfield at sports complex will remain closed until lead is removed," 2 July 2018 This removes bulky ions, such as magnesium and sulphate, as well as bacteria and other large particles. The Economist, "A membrane that can remove salts from water more efficiently," 3 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about particle

Statistics for particle

Last Updated

19 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for particle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on particle

What made you want to look up particle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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