sub·​atom·​ic | \ˌsəb-ə-ˈtä-mik \

Definition of subatomic 

1 : of or relating to the inside of the atom

2 : of, relating to, or being particles smaller than atoms

Examples of subatomic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Then Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger and Werner Heisenberg gave us quantum mechanics — and a fresh understanding of the subatomic world. Dan Falk /, NBC News, "Why some scientists say physics has gone off the rails," 2 June 2018 First stop: a back-in-time reminder of Ant-Man's powers, and a refresher on the first film's subatomic drama. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Ant-Man and the Wasp review: Even smaller scale, even bigger heart," 6 July 2018 The light arose from the collision between a remarkably energetic neutrino – a wraithlike subatomic particle moving close to the speed of light – and the nucleus of a hydrogen or oxygen atom deep within the ice. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Neutrino demonstration heralds a new way of observing the cosmos," 12 July 2018 These sensors are set up to detect when subatomic particles called neutrinos crash into the Earth. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Physicists are unveiling cool, new findings from a South Pole neutrino observatory Thursday. Here’s how to watch.," 12 July 2018 The cosmic object that had traveled so far to reach Earth, a subatomic particle called a neutrino, shoots through the universe in a straight line — passing through stars and even people without shifting course. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blazing a trail: UW professor's dream leads to breakthrough in identifying origin of cosmic rays," 12 July 2018 These unusual subatomic particles are almost impossible to detect because they usually are unaffected by normal matter, radiation or gravity. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "Scientists Track Neutrinos Through Ice to Their Source in the Cosmos," 12 July 2018 Neutrinos are nearly massless subatomic particles that have no electric charge and therefore interact rarely with their surroundings. Mike Wall, NBC News, "High-energy 'ghost particle' traced to distant galaxy in astronomy breakthrough," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subatomic.' 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 subatomic

1874, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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The first known use of subatomic was in 1874

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More Definitions for subatomic



English Language Learners Definition of subatomic

: smaller than an atom

: of or relating to the inside of an atom


sub·​atom·​ic | \ˌsəb-ə-ˈtäm-ik \

Medical Definition of subatomic 

1 : of or relating to the inside of the atom

2 : of, relating to, or being particles smaller than atoms

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