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

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.”
Recent Examples on the Web With these fields, the researchers were able to enable the spontaneous creation of particle-antiparticle pairs from nothing at all. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 18 Sep. 2022 The debates are an essential part of a process that particle physicists know must end with common ground. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, 8 Sep. 2022 Temperatures dropped globally in the mid-20th century, and scientists say this was because of the post-war industrial boom and the increase in aerosols, small-particle pollutants emitted into the atmosphere. Arjun Thakkar,, 2 Sep. 2022 All of those particle effects and realistic light bounces add up to a far more tense visual experience. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 31 Aug. 2022 Indeed, the deeper scientists have probed the structure of the proton with high-energy particle collisions, the more complicated the situation has become. Robert Lea, Popular Mechanics, 30 Aug. 2022 In a world changing at particle-accelerator speed, some things remain the same. Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022 The formulas, called scattering amplitudes, give the probabilities of possible outcomes of particle collisions. Katie Mccormick, Quanta Magazine, 1 Aug. 2022 Semiconductor manufacturing and a host of other high-tech activities–from nuclear fusion to drone transportation to particle-accelerator research–stand to get a boost from a bill now headed to President Biden for his signature. Rob Pegoraro, PCMAG, 29 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near particle



particle accelerator

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Particle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for particle


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

More from Merriam-Webster on particle

Nglish: Translation of particle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of particle for Arabic Speakers


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