- Noun: atom atum
- (physics and chemistry) the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element
- (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
- molecule, particle, corpuscle, mote, speck
Derived forms: atoms
1. The smallest material particle that displays the unique characteristics and properties of an element. Atoms consist of a dense, positively charged central nucleus, around which less-massive, negatively charged electrons “swarm” at definite levels called shells. Also see BOHR ATOM and RUTHERFORD ATOM.
2. In a computer-compiling operation, an operator or operand.
n : the smallest particle of an element that can exist either alone or in combination — atom·ic adj — atom·i·cal·ly adv
<jargon> (From Greek "atomos", indivisible) Indivisible; cannot be split up.
For example, an instruction may be said to do several things "atomically", i.e. all the things are done immediately, and there is no chance of the instruction being half-completed or of another being interspersed. Used especially to convey that an operation cannot be interrupted.
An atomic data type has no internal structure visible to the program. It can be represented by a flat domain (all elements are equally defined). Machine integers and Booleans are two examples.
An atomic database transaction is one which is guaranteed to complete successfully or not at all. If an error prevents a partially-performed transaction from proceeding to completion, it must be "backed out" to prevent the database being left in an inconsistent state.
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- there is a stable ground state of the atom.
- an atom contains a tiny heavy nucleus.
- the electron is not very tied to the atom.
- waves emanate from the same atom source.
- he didn't know that the atom bomb would work.