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molecule

[mol-uh-kyool]
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noun
  1. Chemistry, Physics. the smallest physical unit of an element or compound, consisting of one or more like atoms in an element and two or more different atoms in a compound.
  2. Chemistry. a quantity of a substance, the weight of which, measured in any chosen unit, is numerically equal to the molecular weight; gram molecule.
  3. any very small particle.

Origin of molecule

1785–95; earlier molecula < New Latin, equivalent to Latin mōlē(s) mass + -cula -cule1
Related formssub·mol·e·cule, nounsu·per·mol·e·cule, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for molecule

molecule

noun
  1. the simplest unit of a chemical compound that can exist, consisting of two or more atoms held together by chemical bonds
  2. a very small particle

Word Origin

C18: via French from New Latin mōlēcula, diminutive of Latin mōlēs mass, mole 4
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for molecule

n.

1794, "extremely minute particle," from French molécule (1670s), from Modern Latin molecula, diminutive of Latin moles "mass, barrier" (see mole (3)). A vague meaning at first; the vogue for the word (used until late 18c. only in Latin form) can be traced to the philosophy of Descartes. First used of Modern Latin molecula in modern scientific sense by Amedeo Avogadro (1811).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

molecule in Medicine

molecule

([object Object])
n.
  1. The smallest particle into which an element or a compound can be divided without changing its chemical and physical properties; a group of atoms that is held together chemically.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

molecule in Science

molecule

[mŏlĭ-kyōōl′]
  1. A group of two or more atoms linked together by sharing electrons in a chemical bond. Molecules are the fundamental components of chemical compounds and are the smallest part of a compound that can participate in a chemical reaction.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

molecule in Culture

molecule

[(mol-uh-kyoohl)]

A combination of two or more atoms held together by a force between them. (See covalent bond and ionic bond.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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