Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The smallest particle of a substance that retains the chemical and physical properties of the substance and is composed of two or more atoms; a group of like or different atoms held together by chemical forces.
  • noun A small particle; a tiny bit.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The smallest mass of any substance which is capable of existing in a separate form — that is, the smallest part into which the substance can be divided without destroying its chemical character (identity).
  • noun A very small particle or bit of something; a particle; an atom.
  • noun In ornithology, the tread or cicatricula of a fecundated ovum.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One of the very small invisible particles of which all ordinary matter is supposed to consist.
  • noun (Physics) The smallest part of any substance which possesses the characteristic properties and qualities of that substance, and which can exist alone in a free state.
  • noun (Chem.) A group of atoms so united and combined by chemical affinity that they form a complete, integrated whole, being the smallest portion of any particular compound that can exist in a free state. Cf. Atom.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun chemistry The smallest particle of a specific element or compound that retains the chemical properties of that element or compound; two or more atoms held together by chemical bonds.
  • noun A tiny amount.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
  • noun (physics and chemistry) the simplest structural unit of an element or compound

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French molécule, from New Latin mōlēcula, diminutive of Latin mōlēs, mass.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Summary: from French molécule, from New Latin molecula ("a molecule"), diminutive of Latin moles ("a mass"); see mole.

Examples

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