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

  • n. 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.
  • n. A small particle; a tiny bit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A tiny amount.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the very small invisible particles of which all ordinary matter is supposed to consist.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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 The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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).
  • n.
  • n. A very small particle or bit of something; a particle; an atom.
  • n. In ornithology, the tread or cicatricula of a fecundated ovum.

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

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


French molécule, from New Latin mōlēcula, diminutive of Latin mōlēs, mass.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Summary: from French molécule, from New Latin molecula ("a molecule"), diminutive of Latin moles ("a mass"); see mole. (Wiktionary)



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