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 God rays, particle effects and even day/night cycles all make the transition. Washington Post, "‘Crysis’ runs on a Nintendo handheld. This should be front page news.," 31 July 2020 The virus which causes COVID-19 is about .125 micron, a size of particle that HEPA filters can capture effectively, The New York Times notes. Molly Longman,, "Can Air Purifiers Save Us From COVID-19?," 13 July 2020 But with Triso fuel, these safety features are redundant, since each particle is effectively wrapped in a control rod. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "Nuclear ‘Power Balls’ May Make Meltdowns a Thing of the Past," 30 June 2020 But Sanders has turned his expertise to determining how a different type of particle, one that has sickened millions around the world, moves from human mouths covered with masks. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Which mask is best? UW engineering professor studies how droplets escape from face coverings," 7 July 2020 Part of the problem is that how well a mask works depends on three things: its filtering capacity, how well the wearer keeps it in place, and the role that particle size plays in transmission. Megan Molteni, Wired, "How Masks Went From Don’t-Wear to Must-Have," 2 July 2020 Other moments and entities in the game, particularly the swirling-particle creatures known as BTs, suffer from similar issues when put through the DLSS wringer, though in many cases, these occur during live gameplay and are thus less noticeable. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Why this month’s PC port of Death Stranding is the definitive version," 1 July 2020 Despite two years of data collection, the hint of a signal is still faint compared to what physics requires to announce the discovery of a new particle. Rafi Letzter, Scientific American, "Physicists Announce Potential Dark Matter Breakthrough," 17 June 2020 The barrel’s contents form a third God particle, then a stable wormhole between 2020 and 2053, allowing Elisabeth and Charlotte to touch each other. Ashley Chervinski,, "From June 27 To The 2050s: Everything You Need To Know About Dark’s Dates," 27 June 2020

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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Statistics for particle

Last Updated

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Particle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for particle


How to pronounce particle (audio)

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)


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

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