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

Researchers have had a hard time quantifying exposure to those tiny particles as a smoky plume moves through an area or just how harmful the bursts of such air can be. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "The Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke May Last a Lifetime," 27 June 2019 First, a foreign particle stimulates the trigeminal nerve, the largest nerve connecting to the brain. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Quick Question: Why Do We Sneeze?," 8 Mar. 2019 Now, Hawking's collaborators are left to finish tabulating whether those particles could store enough information to dodge the conflict with quantum mechanics. Sarah Lewin, Space.com, "Stephen Hawking's Children and Colleagues Discuss Physicist's Final Book, Legacy," 17 Oct. 2018 Cellular components such as the filaments that give cells structure also display collective behavior but are difficult to isolate and purify, while synthetic particles with the right properties are hard to produce. Quanta Magazine, "Swirling Bacteria Linked to the Physics of Phase Transitions," 16 June 2019 When discussing quantum theory, the Institute of Physics says that a superposition is the idea that a particle can be in two places at once. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Can Save Schrödinger's Cat By Predicting Quantum Jumps," 7 June 2019 However the researchers found that very few particles were from fishing gear. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Turns out there's more plastic pollution in the deep ocean than the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," 6 June 2019 Repellent spray often contains nanotechnology, meaning the particles from the spray are small enough to fill the tiny openings in the leather to prevent water from doing any damage. Irene Hwang, Seventeen, "How to Clean Suede Shoes Like a Fashion Pro," 13 May 2019 The molecular particles are a signature of a geographic region and indicate where someone lived in youth. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 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.

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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

9 Jul 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

Comments on particle

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