[ pahr-ti-kuhl ]
See synonyms for: particleparticles on

  1. a minute portion, piece, fragment, or amount; a tiny or very small bit: a particle of dust; not a particle of supporting evidence.

  2. Physics.

    • one of the extremely small constituents of matter, as an atom or nucleus.

    • an elementary particle, quark, or gluon.

    • a body in which the internal motion is negligible.

  1. a clause or article, as of a document.

  2. Grammar.

    • (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.

    • such a word.

    • a small word of functional or relational use, as an article, preposition, or conjunction, whether of a separate form class or not.

  3. 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

Other words for particle

Other words from particle

  • par·ti·cled, adjective
  • in·ter·par·ti·cle, adjective

Words Nearby particle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use particle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for particle


/ (ˈpɑːtɪkəl) /

  1. an extremely small piece of matter; speck

  2. a very tiny amount; iota: it doesn't make a particle of difference

  1. a function word, esp (in certain languages) a word belonging to an uninflected class having suprasegmental or grammatical function: the 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

  2. a common affix, such as re-, un-, or -ness

  3. physics a body with finite mass that can be treated as having negligible size, and internal structure

  4. RC Church a small piece broken off from the Host at Mass

  5. archaic a section or clause of a document

Origin of 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

Scientific definitions for particle


[ pärtĭ-kəl ]

  1. A very small piece of solid matter.

  2. 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.