Definition of particle in English:



  • 1A minute portion of matter.

    ‘tiny particles of dust’
    • ‘Symmetries are just as interesting and equally important at the other end of the scale, among the primary particles of matter.’
    • ‘Raw coal also contains moisture and solid particles of mineral matter (ash).’
    • ‘So therefore some particles of matter would survive that annihilation.’
    • ‘And in those experiments we see particles of matter and particles of anti-matter emerging in perfect balance every time.’
    • ‘Descartes viewed the world around him as particles of matter and explained natural phenomena through their motion and mechanical interactions.’
    • ‘Here, he asserts that ultimate components of reality are ‘events’, not particles of matter.’
    • ‘Direct copying of qubits is prohibited by the rules of quantum mechanics, nature's instruction book for the smallest particles of matter.’
    • ‘Nanochips are integrated circuits so small that individual particles of matter play major roles.’
    • ‘The medical evidence was that pneumoconiosis is caused by a gradual accumulation in the lungs of minute particles of silica inhaled over a period of years.’
    • ‘He wondered why the atmosphere was not a sandwich, with the densest gas at the bottom, and began thinking about the nature of the particles of matter.’
    • ‘She would have to break up her body into small particles of matter.’
    • ‘Cloud seeding is a snowmaking technique that discharges minute particles of a chemical called iodide into winter storm clouds to create snow.’
    • ‘The springs' colors changed, too, as minute particles of broken rock muddied the waters.’
    • ‘When the universe expands, the particles of matter dilute, or take up less space in a given volume.’
    • ‘His entire body was caked with minute particles of dried salt, and it was beginning to drive his Sentinel sense of touch off the irritation scale.’
    • ‘Uncatchables were like magnets for loose electrons, and whenever they became solid, it was because they had attracted all of the minute particles of matter in the area towards them.’
    • ‘I would like to tell the member that lead is a naturally occurring substance, and that there are probably minute trace elements and particles of lead in most of the things that we consume.’
    • ‘It is true that Newton did suggest that if we could know the forces that operate on the minute particles of matter, we could understand why macroscopic processes occur in the ways they do.’
    • ‘If you want to do a little more thinking, start with particles of matter.’
    • ‘For Lavoisier, questions about the invisible particles of matter were irrelevant to chemistry's aims.’
    bit, tiny bit, piece, tiny piece, speck, spot, fleck, dot, atom, molecule
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    1. 1.1Physics Any of numerous subatomic constituents of the physical world that interact with each other, including electrons, neutrinos, photons, and alpha particles.
      • ‘Electrical power can be related to the Planck constant, defined as the ratio between the frequency of an electromagnetic particle such as a photon of light and its energy.’
      • ‘Later it was found that the atoms are composed of particles (neutrons, electrons etc).’
      • ‘In addition, they must consider the electrons not as particles, but as quantum mechanical waves.’
      • ‘Its output of particles (electrons, protons, ions and atomic nuclei) is approximately one million tonnes per second.’
      • ‘Counting photons, particles that carry electromagnetic energy including X-rays, was critical to this discovery.’
    2. 1.2Mathematics A hypothetical object having mass but no physical size.
      • ‘At that time he made the claim, for the first time, that the particle had zero mass.’
      • ‘The view which I am so bold to put forth considers radiation as a high species of vibration in the lines of force which are known to connect particles, and also masses of matter together.’
      • ‘The isochrone, or curve of constant descent, is the curve along which a particle will descend under gravity from any point to the bottom in exactly the same time, no matter what the starting point.’
      • ‘A mechanism which gives mass to the particles by allowing them to interact with a field was first suggested by Peter Higgs.’
      • ‘In 1687 Leibniz asked for the curve along which a particle may descend under gravity so that it moves equal vertical distances in equal times.’
  • 2[with negative] The least possible amount.

    ‘he agrees without hearing the least particle of evidence’
    iota, jot, whit, bit, scrap, shred, crumb, morsel, mite, atom, drop, hint, touch, trace, suggestion, whisper, suspicion, scintilla, grain, tittle, jot or tittle
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  • 3Grammar
    (in English) any of the class of words such as in, up, off, over, used with verbs to make phrasal verbs.

    • ‘Such adverbs are sometimes called prepositional adverbs, sometimes adverbial particles.’
    • ‘If no special emphasis is employed, the adverbial particle in a phrasal verb proper is stressed: to píck úp a bóok/píck a bóok úp.’
    • ‘Hiragana are used in writing verb endings, adverbs, conjunctions, and various sentence particles and are written in a cursive, smooth style.’
    • ‘Maybe, as a result of this, sentences occasionally miss main verbs or particles get mislaid, but blogging is Hell, soldier.’
    • ‘The third shared feature is that where there is more than one particle accompanying a verb, the particles always have a fixed order before the verb: tense-mood-aspect.’
    1. 3.1(in ancient Greek) any of a class of words used for contrast and emphasis, such as de and ge.
      • ‘These are considered particles and they're placed at the end of a sentence, usually to signify a certain attitudinal meaning or intonation.’
      • ‘Such a particle would generally be included in a grammar in a post-compositional pragmatic component, but, surprisingly, like also affects basic semantic attributes.’


Late Middle English: from Latin particula little part, diminutive of pars, part-.