Definition of particle in English:



  • 1A minute portion of matter.

    ‘tiny particles of dust’
    • ‘And in those experiments we see particles of matter and particles of anti-matter emerging in perfect balance every time.’
    • ‘The springs' colors changed, too, as minute particles of broken rock muddied the waters.’
    • ‘For Lavoisier, questions about the invisible particles of matter were irrelevant to chemistry's aims.’
    • ‘So therefore some particles of matter would survive that annihilation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the universe expands, the particles of matter dilute, or take up less space in a given volume.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Here, he asserts that ultimate components of reality are ‘events’, not particles of matter.’
    • ‘Raw coal also contains moisture and solid particles of mineral matter (ash).’
    • ‘Symmetries are just as interesting and equally important at the other end of the scale, among the primary particles of matter.’
    • ‘Descartes viewed the world around him as particles of matter and explained natural phenomena through their motion and mechanical interactions.’
    • ‘She would have to break up her body into small 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.’
    • ‘If you want to do a little more thinking, start with 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.’
    bit, tiny bit, piece, tiny piece, speck, spot, fleck, dot, atom, molecule
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    1. 1.1[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
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Physics
      another term for subatomic particle
      • ‘In addition, they must consider the electrons not as particles, but as quantum mechanical waves.’
      • ‘Counting photons, particles that carry electromagnetic energy including X-rays, was critical to this discovery.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘Its output of particles (electrons, protons, ions and atomic nuclei) is approximately one million tonnes per second.’
    3. 1.3Mathematics A hypothetical object having mass but no physical size.
      • ‘A mechanism which gives mass to the particles by allowing them to interact with a field was first suggested by Peter Higgs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At that time he made the claim, for the first time, that the particle had zero mass.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Grammar
    A minor function word that has comparatively little meaning and does not inflect, in particular.

    • ‘Since it's not credible that he was having trouble remembering his own last name, I concluded that he often used a filled pause as a sort of emphatic particle.’
    • ‘The story about Irish lacking particles meaning ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is true, by the way.’
    1. 2.1(in English) any of the class of words such as in, up, off, over, used with verbs to make phrasal verbs.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Maybe, as a result of this, sentences occasionally miss main verbs or particles get mislaid, but blogging is Hell, soldier.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such adverbs are sometimes called prepositional adverbs, sometimes adverbial particles.’
    2. 2.2(in ancient Greek) any of the class of words such as de and ge, used for contrast and emphasis.
      • ‘Such a particle would generally be included in a grammar in a post-compositional pragmatic component, but, surprisingly, like also affects basic semantic attributes.’
      • ‘These are considered particles and they're placed at the end of a sentence, usually to signify a certain attitudinal meaning or intonation.’


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