Word of the Day : March 29, 2019


verb KAH-muh-noot

What It Means

: to reduce to minute particles : pulverize


"Type III fractures are comminuted (involve multiple broken pieces of bone), which lead to mechanical blocks to motion and significant elbow joint and ligament damage. Surgery would be required to fix or remove the broken pieces of bone and repair the soft-tissue damage." — Joshua Dines, Forbes.com, 21 Oct. 2018

"… the USDA says all cooked sausages (including bologna and hot dogs) must be comminuted, or 'reduced to minute particles.'" — Emily Petsko, Mental Floss, 24 Oct. 2018

Did You Know?

What do comminute, pulverize, and triturate all have in common? All three words are derived from Latin and share the meaning "to reduce to small particles." Comminute can be traced back to the prefix com- and the verb minuere, meaning "to lessen." Pulverize descends from a combination of pulver-, meaning "dust" or "powder," with the suffix -izare, which—like the English -ize—can mean "to cause to be." Triturate is borrowed from the past participle of the Latin triturare, which means "to thresh." Triturate specifically refers to the use of rubbing or grinding to achieve pulverization, a process which could be said to resemble the use of rubbing to separate grains from harvested cereal plants.

Name That Synonym

What synonym of comminute begins with "b" and has a homograph that is also a word for the characteristic cry of a donkey?



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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