Definition of disintegrate in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Break up into small parts, typically as the result of impact or decay.

    ‘when the missile struck, the car disintegrated in a sheet of searing flame’
    • ‘Wherever there was an active coastal airfield you might find wrecks, either from accidents or shootings-down, but most planes that crashed into the sea disintegrated on impact.’
    • ‘It spun across the road into the path of oncoming vehicles and disintegrated on impact.’
    • ‘Seeing things break, disintegrate, or explode, at absolutely no personal risk to yourself, lights up some primitive reptilian part of our brain with searing glee.’
    • ‘Roberta does not have a television and will not watch films on video, whereas Eric will happily watch his favourites until the tapes disintegrate.’
    • ‘It smashed into the ground, sending debris scattering and disintegrating upon impact.’
    • ‘Such vehicles are often incapable of sustaining any collision and disintegrate at the slightest impact.’
    • ‘Some were from two hundred years previous to this day, and it was a small wonder that they had not simply decayed and disintegrated into nothingness.’
    • ‘It's not much of a guide to anything, except that the car won't disintegrate in the next 20 minutes.’
    • ‘Slowly it began to disintegrate until there was nothing left.’
    • ‘The front of the car had disintegrated and debris was all over the road.’
    • ‘Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour or until peas have disintegrated.’
    • ‘The boat then disintegrated on impact with the water.’
    • ‘These data suggest that the front of the aircraft disintegrated essentially upon impact but, in the process, opened up a hole allowing the trailing portions of the fuselage to pass into the building.’
    • ‘To be effective, multivitamin tablets need to disintegrate and dissolve completely.’
    • ‘With each backward step, the stone disintegrated beneath his feet and gushed down in sick rock slides on both faces.’
    • ‘Surrounding you is lightweight, aerodynamically engineered sheet metal that disintegrates into millions of large and small fragments when you crash.’
    • ‘Although the articles we created from plywood have long since disintegrated through woodworm and decay, memories of our early lives and our innocent preoccupation remain constant.’
    • ‘Hard to believe that 500 million billion tonnes of ice sheet has disintegrated in less than a month.’
    • ‘It was rotten and decayed and completely disintegrated on impact.’
    • ‘Their job is to kill the bird, sever its head and subject it to a drying process that ensures it does not decay or disintegrate.’
    break up, break apart, fall apart, fall to pieces, fall to bits, fragment, fracture, shatter, splinter
    break down, decompose, decay, rot, moulder, perish, corrode, deteriorate
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    1. 1.1 (of a society, family, or other social group) weaken or break apart.
      ‘the marriage disintegrated amid allegations that she was having an affair’
      • ‘Instead, the dogmatic ideologists passively watched the movement disintegrate, until it simply collapsed to no avail and vanished from the Israeli political scene.’
      • ‘But, at the same time, his family was disintegrating.’
      • ‘Families and communities disintegrate under the crushing burden of drug addiction.’
      • ‘Lindsay's family was disintegrating and she didn't know why.’
      • ‘So the performances that bind the crowd may also push the boundaries of the crowd until it disintegrates.’
      • ‘When government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies.’
      • ‘Many have disconnected from their society as communities disintegrate, partly because few have the time to contribute to their local community and build local support systems.’
      • ‘His argument is that in some instances members may leave the group and the group finally disintegrates.’
      • ‘But history shows that even most prosperous civilisations have decayed and disintegrated if it did not have a nationalistic ideology.’
      • ‘The video features a seemingly ‘perfect ‘family, but later shows how the family disintegrates.’’
      • ‘Eventually families disintegrated altogether, leaving thousands of homeless foundlings roaming the countryside in a desperate search for food and comfort.’
      • ‘Supplemented by members of the English colony from Narva which disintegrated under the impact of the war, St Petersburg's British community rapidly assumed a prominent economic and social position.’
      • ‘Victor Cherkashin served in the KGB from 1952, when Stalin was still in power, until the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.’
      • ‘The man whose kin group has disintegrated, probably as a consequence of tribal fighting, is able to take on a new social identity, with new kinsmen and women.’
      • ‘On the other hand, of course, partly because of traditional problems, partly because of new problems since the fall of the Soviet Union, a great many families have disintegrated.’
      • ‘What I disliked and thought was untrue to the series was the way that the group disintegrated with that death.’
      • ‘Through these characters, we get a sense of the ambiguous nature of war and are able to understand why and how families disintegrate during war.’
      • ‘She said: ‘I think to do preventative work stops families disintegrating.’’
      • ‘Civilized societies disintegrated into pieces as people went mad and insane, searching for the light that they knew was supposed to exist.’
      • ‘As families disintegrated under economic and psychological pressures, children became casualties.’
      break down, fail, fall through, fold, founder, fall flat, miscarry, go wrong, come to nothing, come to grief, be frustrated, be unsuccessful, not succeed
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    2. 1.2Physics Undergo or cause to undergo disintegration at a subatomic level.
      no object ‘a meson can spontaneously disintegrate’
      with object ‘it has become a relatively easy matter to disintegrate almost any atom’
      • ‘Alpha radiation is the stream of alpha particles emitted when radioactive materials disintegrate.’
      • ‘When a radioactive nucleus disintegrates by emitting an alpha or beta particle, it changes into a different nucleus - that is, one with a different number of protons and/or neutrons.’
      • ‘The collision causes the atoms to disintegrate into more basic particles.’
      • ‘They suggested that the atoms of a radioactive element disintegrate spontaneously to form atoms of another element.’
      • ‘Alpha decay occurs when an atomic nucleus disintegrates by emitting alpha particles.’