• synonyms


  1. of, pertaining to, resulting from, or using atoms, atomic energy, or atomic bombs: an atomic explosion.
  2. propelled or driven by atomic energy: an atomic submarine.
  3. Chemistry. existing as free, uncombined atoms.
  4. extremely minute.
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Also a·tom·i·cal.

Origin of atomic

First recorded in 1670–80; atom + -ic
Related formsa·tom·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·a·tom·ic, adjectivenon·a·tom·i·cal, adjectivenon·a·tom·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for atomical

Historical Examples of atomical

  • Unluckily his temperament was what the atomical philosophers (who can explain every thing by thers and vibrations) call sanguine.

    Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe

    John Robison

  • The ancient Democritic or atomical physiology endows inert matter with a motive power.

  • Or is it in your atomical corpuscles, 233which form such excellent works without the direction of any natural power or reason?

    Cicero's Tusculan Disputations

    Marcus Tullius Cicero

British Dictionary definitions for atomical


  1. of, using, or characterized by atomic bombs or atomic energyatomic warfare
  2. of, related to, or comprising atomsatomic hydrogen
  3. extremely small; minute
  4. logic (of a sentence, formula, etc) having no internal structure at the appropriate level of analysis. In predicate calculus, Fa is an atomic sentence and Fx an atomic predicate
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Derived Formsatomically, adverb
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 atomical



1670s as a philosophical term (see atomistic); scientific sense dates from 1811, from atom + -ic. Atomic number is from 1821; atomic mass is from 1848. Atomic energy first recorded 1906 in modern sense (as intra-atomic energy from 1903).

March, 1903, was an historic date for chemistry. It is, also, as we shall show, a date to which, in all probability, the men of the future will often refer as the veritable beginning of the larger powers and energies that they will control. It was in March, 1903, that Curie and Laborde announced the heat-emitting power of radium. [Robert Kennedy Duncan, "The New Knowledge," 1906]

Atomic bomb first recorded 1914 in writings of H.G. Wells, who thought of it as a bomb "that would continue to explode indefinitely."

When you can drop just one atomic bomb and wipe out Paris or Berlin, war will have become monstrous and impossible. [S. Strunsky, "Yale Review," January 1917]

Atomic Age is from 1945. Atomical is from 1640s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

atomical in Science


  1. Relating to an atom or to atoms.
  2. Employing nuclear energy.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.