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  • Adj.

infinitesimal

in-fin-i-TES-uh-muhl

Context
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Imagine the quantity of a raindrop in comparison with the volume of the ocean: that quantity is infinitesimal in size. Imagine the weight of a single grain of sand out of all the sand in the Sahara desert: that one grain of sand’s weight is infinitesimal. Furthermore, imagine a single bacterium compared with the trillions upon trillions of bacteria present on planet Earth: that, my friend, is what I mean by infinitesimal.

Quiz: What is an infinitesimal amount of something?

  • It is immeasurably small.
  • It is tiny in comparison with something else.
  • It is a significant amount of something.

Memory Hook
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Infinitely Small Something infinitesimal, like an atom, is infinitely small.

Examples
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  • 'In the beginning we doubled our sales every year,' says Bryan, 'but our sales were so infinitesimal to start with that it didn’t mean much.' —Sports Illustrated
  • The thing that gets me though is the amount of attention given to her by her opponents, they make her more relevant every time they ballyhoo over every infinitesimal move she makes. —CNN
  • Holder said the chances of catching bin Laden alive are infinitesimal, that bin Laden will either be killed by the U.S. or killed by his own people so he can’t be captured. —CNN
  • Magnets steer them, so the infinitesimal particles smash into each other, packing the energy of two buses colliding into a tiny speck of space. —NPR

Word Ingredients
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in- not
fin end, form a boundary, limit
-al of or relating to

Something infinitesimal is so very small that its smallness has “no end or limit.”

Word Constellation
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Infinitesimal