• synonyms


verb (used with object), at·om·ized, at·om·iz·ing.
  1. to reduce to atoms.
  2. to reduce to fine particles or spray.
  3. to destroy (a target) by bombing, especially with an atomic bomb.
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verb (used without object), at·om·ized, at·om·iz·ing.
  1. to split into many sections, groups, factions, etc.; fragmentize: Critics say the group has atomized around several leaders.
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Also especially British, at·om·ise.

Origin of atomize

First recorded in 1670–80; atom + -ize
Related formsat·om·i·za·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for atomise

Historical Examples

  • They breathe it into the mouth and atomise it on the tongue with utmost relish.

    The New Glutton or Epicure

    Horace Fletcher

  • Where possible, emulsification should be done in a 141 machine, in order to atomise the ingredients.


    K. J. Adcock

British Dictionary definitions for atomise



  1. to separate or be separated into free atoms
  2. to reduce (a liquid or solid) to fine particles or spray or (of a liquid or solid) to be reduced in this way
  3. (tr) to destroy by weapons, esp nuclear weapons
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Derived Formsatomization or atomisation, noun
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 atomise



"reduce to atoms," 1845; "reduce a liquid to a very fine mist," 1865, verb formed from atom + -ize. Related: Atomized; atomizing. Originally in reference to medical treatment for injured or diseased lungs; sense of "to destroy with atomic weapons" is from 1945.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper