a minute portion, piece, fragment, or amount; a tiny or very small bit: a particle of dust; not a particle of supporting evidence.
  1. one of the extremely small constituents of matter, as an atom or nucleus.
  2. an elementary particle, quark, or gluon.
  3. a body in which the internal motion is negligible.
a clause or article, as of a document.
  1. (in some languages) one of the major form classes, or parts of speech, consisting of words that are neither nouns nor verbs, or of all uninflected words, or the like.
  2. such a word.
  3. a small word of functional or relational use, as an article, preposition, or conjunction, whether of a separate form class or not.
Roman Catholic Church. a small piece of the Host given to each lay communicant in a Eucharistic service.

Origin of particle

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Latin word particula. See part, -i-, -cle1
Related formspar·ti·cled, adjectivein·ter·par·ti·cle, adjective

Synonyms for particle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for particle

Contemporary Examples of particle

Historical Examples of particle

British Dictionary definitions for particle



an extremely small piece of matter; speck
a very tiny amount; iotait doesn't make a particle of difference
a function word, esp (in certain languages) a word belonging to an uninflected class having suprasegmental or grammatical functionthe Greek particles ``mēn'' and ``de'' are used to express contrast; questions in Japanese are indicated by the particle ``ka''; English ``up'' is sometimes regarded as an adverbial particle
a common affix, such as re-, un-, or -ness
physics a body with finite mass that can be treated as having negligible size, and internal structure
RC Church a small piece broken off from the Host at Mass
archaic a section or clause of a document

Word Origin for particle

C14: from Latin particula a small part, from pars part
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 particle

late 14c., "small part or division of a whole, minute portion of matter," from Latin particula "little bit or part, grain, jot," diminutive of pars (genitive partis) "part;" see part (n.). Particle physics attested from 1969. In construction, particle board (1957) is so called because it is made from chips and shavings of wood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

particle in Medicine




A very small piece or part.
An elementary particle.
A subatomic particle.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

particle in Science



A very small piece of solid matter.
An elementary particle, subatomic particle, or atomic nucleus. Also called corpuscle
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.